Difference Between Petrol and Diesel

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Petrol and diesel, might not be a topic at the forefront of your mind, but it’s important to learn about the differences between Petrol and Diesel.

What is Petrol?

Petroleum, also known as crude oil and oil, is a naturally occurring, yellowish-black liquid found in geological formations beneath the Earth’s surface. It is commonly refined into various types of fuels. Components of petroleum are separated using a technique called fractional distillation, i.e. separation of a liquid mixture into fractions differing in boiling point using distillation, typically using a fractionating column.

It consists of naturally occurring hydrocarbons of various molecular weights and may contain miscellaneous organic compounds The name petroleum covers both naturally occurring unprocessed crude oil and petroleum products that are made up of refined crude oil.

A fossil fuel, petroleum is formed when large quantities of dead organisms, mostly zooplankton, and algae, are buried underneath sedimentary rock and subjected to both intense heat and pressure.

What is Diesel?

Diesel fuel in general is any liquid fuel specifically designed for use in diesel engines, whose fuel ignition takes place, without any spark, as a result of compression of the inlet air mixture and then injection of fuel. Therefore, diesel fuel needs good compression ignition characteristics.

The most common type of diesel fuel is a specific fractional distillate of petroleum fuel oil, but alternatives that are not derived from petroleum, such as biodiesel, biomass to liquid (BTL), or gas to liquid (GTL) diesel are increasingly being developed and adopted. To distinguish these types, petroleum-derived diesel is increasingly called petrodiesel in some academic circles.

In many countries, diesel fuel is standardized. Before diesel fuel had been standardised, the majority of diesel engines typically ran on cheap fuel oils; these fuel oils are still used in watercraft diesel engines. Despite being specifically designed for diesel engines, diesel fuel can also be used as fuel for several non-diesel engines, for example, the Akroyd engine, the Stirling engine, or boilers for steam engines.

Major Differences between Petrol and Diesel:

Petrol is made of a mix of alkanes and cycloalkanes with a chain length of between 5-12 carbon atoms. Diesel is made of alkanes containing 12 or more carbon atoms.
These boil between 40°C and 205°C. These have a boiling point between 250°C and 350°C
Highly inflammable than diesel. Lesser inflammable than petrol
Highly volatile than diesel because it contains light hydrocarbons. Less volatile than petrol because it contains heavy hydrocarbons.
The energy content of petrol is about 46.7 megajoules per litre The energy content of diesel is about 38.6 megajoules per litre


We can conclude Petrol and Diesel are fuels used to run vehicles. Petrol is a liquid obtained from petroleum, used especially as a fuel for cars and other vehicles. and Diesel is a type of heavy oil used as fuel. Both are used to run vehicles and compared to diesel Petrol will have fewer hydrocarbons and diesel is less flammable than Petrol and Petrol releases more energy compared to diesel.

Also, Read the Biotic and Abiotic components.

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