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What Is The Difference Between Gasoline And Diesel?

Gasoline and Diesel are both types of fuel used to power all types of vehicles and equipment.  Gasoline and Diesel are also often sold at the same gas station, so what is the difference between gasoline and diesel?  For this discussion we will compare the similarities and differences between petroleum based gasoline and diesel.  There are different types of diesel fuel available, like bio-diesel, which I will discuss in a  later Difference Between post.

Difference in Refining

The difference between gasoline and diesel begins with how it’s produced.  Petroleum is refined to produce gasoline and diesel, but the type of fuel is decided at different refining points.  Crude oil, which is the thick black stuff you see exploding from oil wells, is refined in a chemical process.  Think of the process as like a tower and time spent refining yields a different product from the same crude oil.  During the process the crude oil is refined into Heavy Gas Oil, then Lubricating Oil, and then into Diesel.

Diesel fuel takes less time and is lower on the refining process, which typically leads to it being lower in price.  The next step of the refining process produces Kerosene and then finally Gasoline which is used in your car.  This is a simplification of the refining process, which also includes removing impurities, and lastly involves treating the fuel with additives, generally to increase octane rating.

Rating Difference

Typically when fueling up at the gas station you will notice different octane rated gasoline.  Diesel fuel is not measured by octane rating, rather by a cetane rating.  The ratings are similar in that they are used to rate the combustion quality of the fuel.

Use Difference

Diesel and gasoline are not interchangeable.  Gasoline engines are specifically designed to operate with gasoline properties and diesel engines are designed to operate under diesel fuels properties.  Using diesel fuel in a gasoline engine and vice versa could damage your engine.

In addition, gasoline will gel at a much lower temperature than diesel fuel.  This is why during the winter time, diesel vehicles will some times be plugged in, to allow a heater to keep the fuel above it’s gelling temperature.  This core heater will allow for a much easier start in frigid temperatures.

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This has been a post into a series of articles on explaining entry level questions to automotive enthusiasts.

Other Difference Articles:

Difference Between Halogen and HID Lights

Difference Between Turgo and Super Chargers

Difference Between Hybrid and Regular Cars

Difference Between Hybrid and Regular Cars

[ad#Google Adsense]No longer is buying a new vehicle limited to buying either a gas or diesel engine, now buyers have the option to buy hybrid or regular cars.  The difference between hybrid and regular cars lies in the power train and varies by technology.  This article will discuss what it means to be a hybrid, the difference types of hybrids, and what maks a hybrid different than a traditional car.

What Does Hybrid Mean

The real definition of the word Hybrid means a mixed origin or composition, in the case of hybrid cars were are making reference to the composition of the engine.  A hybrid engine has two different components that make similar types of power, typically the different components are gasoline and electric.  The actual technology used withing hybrid motors can vary, but essentially a hybrid engine is a composition of an internal combustion engine and an electric motor.

Difference Between Hybrid Engine and Normal Engine

Because of the addition of an electric motor, to the internal combustion engine, for a primary power source, the engine is now considered a hybrid.  A traditional car will not have an electrical motor to assist the engine make power or supplement power during low load times.  Because of the assitance of an electrical motor, hybrid cars are more fuel efficient, and produce less emmissions.

Different Types of Hybrid Motors

Not only is a hybrid motor different than a traditional motor, but there are also several different types of hybrid motors.  So many in fact, that I could not cover them all in one article.  For the sake of space, let’s look at two different types of hybrid motors in cars.  The two main different hybrid vehicles when buying new cars will be ‘Series Hybrids’ and ‘Plug-In Hybrids’.

A Series Hybrid uses the internal combustion motor to charge a generator, instead of directly powering the wheels.  The generator then produces power for actual power to the wheels for a car to move.

A Plug-In Hybrid uses a type of battery that stores electric power, derived from plugging into special outlet.  The battery then assists the internal combustion engine during low power loads, thus saving gas.  The Plug In Electric Hybrid can also be known as a PHEV and may not be considered as Green as a series hybrid, since the power must still come from traditional resources when charging the battery.

Mercedes BlueHybrid

Mercedes BlueHybrid

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This has been a post into a series of articles on explaining entry level questions to automotive enthusiasts.

Other Difference Articles:

Difference In Higher Octane Gas

Difference Between Automatic and Manual Performance

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Difference Between Automatic and Manual Performance

The real difference between an automatic transmission and a manual transmission is the way that the vehicle shifts through gears.  On an automatic the driver shifts the gear to drive (or lower set gear) and hits the gas, as speed increases the transmission automatically steps up the gear to keep RPM’s under red line.  However, on a manual, the driver is responsible for shifting between gears to as speed increases to keep from red lining.

Automatic transmissions are preferred amongst the common driver, because of it’s ease of use.  A manual transmission requires coordination between the clutch, throttle, and shifting of gears to provide a smooth ride and not damage the transmission.  However, there are some performance incentives for both automatic and manual transmissions, depending on what role is required.

Automatic Transmissions For Drag Racing

Most bracket drag racers prefer an automatic transmission.  This is because in bracket drag racing consistency counts more than specific times.  Elinating factors like clutch speed and shift speed a racer is able to lay down consistent runs in the quarter or eighth mile runs.  Furthermore, most racing automatic transmissions are equipped with stall converters, which allow a high rpm drop into gear, emulating how a manual transmission would react to immediate high RPMs.

Manual Transmission For Racing

Manual transmissions are preferred for traditional racing applications, where quick gear changes are required to exit turns quickly.  In most cases an automatic transmission could not keep up with a skilled driver using a stick shift.  Properly navigating turns, following the driving line, and exiting fast requires foot work on the clutch and throttle and being able to keep high RPMs no matter the speed.  It truly is an art that requires practice and training.

Difference Between Automatic and Manual Day to Day Driving

It boils down to personal preference on what kind of transmission you would want in a daily driver.  I prefer driving a manual because I feel that I have more control over the vehicle’s direct performance.  For some, like myself, driving a stick shift is an enjoyable experience and comes second nature.

Manual cars and trucks will typically get better gas mileage than an automatic.  That’s because instead of a catch all RPM shift, manual drivers can shift early, to keep RPMs down, thus driving more efficiently.

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This has been a post into a series of articles on explaining entry level questions to automotive enthusiasts.

Other Difference Articles:

Difference Between Halogen and HID Lights

Difference Between Turgo and Super Chargers

Difference Between Turbo and Supercharger

Those looking for big power gains usually turn to some sort of power adder, either a Turbo Charger or a Super Charger. There are some big differences between operation, benefits, and setbacks depending on which setup you choose. Both utilize what’s called forced induction to help increase the amount of air mass entering the engine, thus creating more horsepower. How each power adder increases the amount of air mass is where the differences begin and I hope to simplify the differences in this article.

Difference Between Looks

First, a turbo charger looks different than a typical roots style super charger. Furthermore, they are located in different places on the engine.

Turbo Charger

Turbo Charger

Supercharger

Supercharger

Difference Between Source of Power

To create forced induction, an accessory like a turbo charger or supercharger requires a power source.  The turbo charger relies on exhaust to power the turbine, which forces air into the engine.  A roots style supercharger will rely on an accessory belt, which spins the turbine and forces air into the engine.  This is why typically going with a turbo over a supercharger is more expensive, because the setup to pull exhaust and pipe back into the turbo is a more expensive installation and requires more parts.

Difference Between Turbo Horsepower

The additional horsepower that is created by a power added engine will also fluctuate depending on which accessory you choose.  A Turbo charger has the capability of providing higher power gains, but only at higher RPMs.  That’s because it relies on exhaust to spool up it’s turbine, which requires more time, thus power on the lower RPMs are not as high as a supercharger can provide.  Also, even at higher RPMs a Turbo Charger will provide spikes in power, where a supercharger will provide a more even distribution of power over the entire RPM band.

The drop in power at lower RPM’s is frequently called Turbo Lag.  This is the name given to the time it takes to bring a turbo up to speed and actually start producing horsepower gains above a normally aspirated engine.  This is most noticable changing from idle to throttle response time.

Warning About Power Adders

Even though a turbo charger or supercharger can be more expensive, they provide the greatest horsepower per dollar spent.  But, just because you can buy a Turbo or Supercharger does not mean you should, because most engines require a lot of prep work before being able to utilize any power adder.  A Turbo or Supercharger adds a lot of strain to an engine, so replacing internal parts of an engine is highly recommended to support the large increase and boost of horsepower.  Furthermore, even after a turbo or SC is installed it’s important to make sure your car is properly tuned before going WOT(wide open throttle).  If you don’t take the proper steps, installing a power adder may just blow your OEM engine apart.


This has been the first in a series of articles on explaining entry level questions to automotive enthusiasts.  There are plenty of other differences in turbos and other power adder sources, but this article just attempts to scratch the surface and explain the basic questions someone may have.

Next What’s The Difference Article: HID vs Halogen Lights