Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!
Glenn asks: Kerosene is getting hard to find at the pump where I live and the price is around $4.00 per gallon. You can buy it at Tractor Supply and even our local Walmart in a gallon container for about $9.00 per gallon. I have heard that some people are now using auto diesel in their heaters. Is this safe? I also have learned that some people dump a bottle of 91 percent rubbing alcohol in a five gallon container of auto diesel to thin the mixture out and make it burn better saving the wick. Your thoughts.
My reply: Kerosene is diesel, just lighter and a bit less energy-dense and with less lubricity – the latter can be a problem when it is burned in a reciprocating engine made for diesel. But this can be addressed by adding two-stroke oil or ATF. Kerosene is sometimes added to diesel in winter to help avoid gelling as it is more resistant to that.
Using diesel in a heater should be fine; my buddy who runs a repair shop regularly uses diesel in his shop heater – with the caveat about gelling in winter. I’m not sure about cutting diesel with alcohol, which is more volatile.
Hoping someone here with more specific knowledge will add their 50!
PS: Off-road diesel is cheaper than on-road. But you’ll need a drum or something to buy it from most pumps as it’s illegal to pump it into a vehicle with license plates.
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