Difference Between No. 2 Fuel Oil & Diesel Fuel

by Anne Davis
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Fuel oil classes, including fuel oil No. 2 and diesel fuels, are refined from crude petroleum. They can be categorized as either a distillate fuel or a residual fuel, depending on their production method. Fuel oils Nos. 1, 2 and 4 are used for heating and are all very similar to diesel fuels.


Diesel fuels are similar to fuel oils used for heating, including fuel oil No. 2. All of these fuels consist of complex mixtures of aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons. They contain 80 to 90 percent aliphatic alkanes (paraffins) and cycloalkanes (naphthenes) that are hydrogen saturated, 10 to 20 percent aromatics and 1 percent olefins.

Fuel Oil No. 2

Fuel oil No. 2 is heavier than fuel oil No. 1. It is usually blended and is a distillate with hydrocarbons in the C11 to C20 range.

Diesel Fuel

Diesel fuels are a mixture of mostly C10 through C19 hydrocarbons. They include about 64 percent aliphatic hydrocarbons, 1 to 2 percent olefinic hydrocarbons and 35 percent aromatic hydrocarbons.

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