What Are the Different Types of Diesel Fuel?

red diesel fuel supplierCountless industries and consumers depend on vehicles and equipment that run on diesel. In the fuel and energy sector, we benefit from understanding the different types of diesel fuel we might need to distribute, sell, or use ourselves. Here’s a brief overview to help you better understand the various types of diesel fuels and their uses.

Petroleum diesel

Petroleum diesel, also known as fossil diesel, is the standard fuel used in large-capacity vehicles, including trains, buses, and freight trucks, as well as the industrial equipment found on construction sites and farms. Since it’s derived from naturally occurring crude oil (distilled between 200-350 degrees Celsius), it’s a non-synthetic fuel. Although most cars run on standard gasoline, consumers who drive pickup trucks increasingly rely on diesel as it offers greater fuel efficiency, and diesel engines tend to be more durable and powerful.

Synthetic diesel

Gasifying carbonaceous raw materials, ranging from gases such as biomethane and natural gas to biomass such as coal and organic waste produce synthetic diesel fuel. These materials undergo chemical reactions to produce a highly combustible gas that is then purified and turned into liquid via the Fischer-Tropsch process. The end result is a hydrocarbon fuel that produces significantly lower emissions because of its minimal sulfur content.


Biodiesel fuel gets its name from the once-living materials used for its production. Vegetable oils, such as soybean, corn, grapeseed oil, or animal fats react with alcohol to produce various esters in a process called transesterification. Most people blend the end product with petroleum diesel or, in many cases, replace it. Biodiesel is a cleaner diesel option that also supports the farmers who produce the required raw materials. However, some engines encounter corrosion or blockage issues if they weren’t designed with biodiesel as the intended fuel type.

Hydrogenation-derived renewable diesel

Hydrogenation-derived renewable diesel, or HDRD, is another vegetable oil-based alternative to fossil diesel. Instead of using the fatty acid methyl esters biodiesel does, HDRD relies on the conversion of the oil’s triglycerides. The resulting product is an even cleaner fuel source with greater oxidation stability. HDRD also facilitates good low-temperature operability and reduced injector deposit formation.

Dimethyl ether

Dimethyl ether is a synthetic type of diesel fuel that works in specific compression ignition diesel engines. At standard atmospheric pressure, it’s a colorless gas, rather than a liquid like the other diesel fuel types. It enables combustion with minimal soot or nitrogen oxide production.

At Reeder Distributors, we use our expert knowledge of diesel fuel in all its forms to better serve our clients and help you run a more profitable and efficient business. When you’re preparing for your next wholesale fuel purchase, rely on Reeder Distributors to provide you with the fuel you need, and consider taking advantage of our services ranging from job site fueling to fuel monitoring equipment installation. Contact us to learn more about how we can keep your team fueled for any challenge.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Request a Quote