The Different Types of Diesel Fuel: #1,#2, and #4

Diesel fuels are broken up into 3 different classes: 1D(#1), 2D(#2) and 4D(#4). The difference between these classes depends on viscosity (the property of a fluid that causes a resistance to the fluid’s flow) and pour point (the temperature at which a fluid will flow).

#4 fuels tend to be used in low-speed engines. #2 fuels are used in warmer weather and are sometimes mixed with #1  fuel to create a competent winter fuel.  #1 fuel is preferred for cold weather as it has a lower viscosity. It used to be standard to see the fuel # on the pump, but a lot of gas stations do not state the fuel number anymore.

Another important factor is the rating of Cetane in the diesel fuel. Cetane is similar to Octane for gasoline fuel and it indicates how easy the fuel will ignite and burn. Since Ultra low Sulfur diesel fuels became standard in the middle 2000s, the cetane has been reduced which makes the newer fuel less desirable for diesel enthusiasts. It is highly recommended to run a fuel additive to increase the overall Cetane number. Diesel fuel additives such as Fuel Bomb will also have lubricity additives which will help the modern diesel engine run better and achieve a higher fuel economy(MPG). One other feature of a diesel fuel additive is that it does not need much per tank. A standard bottle of diesel fuel additive usually treats 250-500 gallons.

Here is an article from Diesel Power Magazine on diesel fuel additives and why they are important.

Synthetic diesel comes from several sources such as wood, straw, corn and even garbage or discarded foods.

Biodiesel is an ecologically-friendly type of diesel. It is a cleaner-burning diesel made from natural, renewable sources such as vegetable oils and animal fats. Biodiesel is helping to reduce American dependence on foreign petroleum. It is also helping in the creation of green jobs and the improvement of our environment.

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23 thoughts on “The Different Types of Diesel Fuel: #1,#2, and #4

  • Pingback: diesel fuel - OIL WORLD 2011 – OIL WORLD 2011

  • October 21, 2012 at 7:03 pm
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    What do you mean by EN 590 grade of diesel for cars.

    Reply
  • January 24, 2014 at 5:13 am
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    i haven’t heared about the types of 1d, 2d, 4d.so i want a clear information on that.

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    • January 24, 2014 at 10:32 am
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      Hi, I just updated this article. 1d is the standard name, but most people hear it as #1 diesel. If you want to re read the article and let me know if it makes more sense.

      Reply
    • August 12, 2016 at 10:57 am
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      I want to see the colours of diesel all the types

      Reply
  • August 11, 2014 at 2:43 am
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    hi, still not clear for me the different of 2D and 4D. You mentioned that 4D used for low speed and 2D for high speed?.
    what the parameter..?”..thanks

    Reply
    • August 21, 2014 at 4:36 pm
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      #4 is designed for low speed diesel vehicles such as earth movers and combines. I don’t think combines are used in winter but anyways. Low speed vehicles.

      Reply
  • August 26, 2014 at 10:51 am
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    I see signs that say truck diesel, car diesel is there a difference and is the truck diesel bad for diesel cars.

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    • August 26, 2014 at 11:58 am
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      I would assume that sign is designed for traffic patterns instead of an actual different type of diesel. There often are pumps that can handle larger vehicles and trucks and so they want those people to use the truck pumps. There should not be a difference between the 2 fuels. There is a possibility that specific fuel stations add in fuel additives that truckers would like. I honestly do not know why they would mention a difference.

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    • February 6, 2015 at 6:36 pm
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      One difference I’ve found at fuel stations between “truck diesel” and “car diesel” is the nozzle for the “truck diesel” is too large to correctly fit in my VW Jetta.

      Here is another diesel fuel difference. You can get “off-road” diesel, but that is for farm tractor use, or perhaps grading equipment. It does not have the highway tax added to it. It is dyed red so if you are caught with it in your car or truck driving down the road you will be in trouble.

      Reply
  • July 16, 2015 at 4:33 am
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    I would like to know what is the best or type of Deisel to use in my 2014 Thor citation sprinter motor home. Type and product number.

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    • November 30, 2015 at 9:38 am
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      Check the Owners manual for the engine. It likely says #2 or 2D, but confirm that with MFR.

      Reply
  • August 10, 2015 at 3:14 pm
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    What sort of diesel must be used for sailboat inborad engines? Where can we find it?

    Thanks!

    Reply
  • September 4, 2015 at 6:56 am
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    When purchasing fuel I was offered Biodiesel or regular. I responded that I would take “what ever”. I have noticed a lot of rust occurring on fuel caps and main tanks. Is this due to the type of fuel? I am aware of ethanol absorbing moisture in marine applications, could there be an issue here?

    Reply
  • October 26, 2015 at 4:04 am
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    What sort of diesel for Fire pumps diesel engines?

    Reply
  • November 30, 2015 at 2:57 pm
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    I have a new Ford Titanium 2 litre diesel 180PS.brand new. Which grade diesel should I use and why, please?

    Reply
  • January 17, 2016 at 5:47 am
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    What is the different between 50ppm and 5ooppm diesel

    Reply
  • April 15, 2016 at 12:26 am
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    will you please help me understand what is D2 500 type of diesel found to be in distribution in the market either bulk supply (wholesale) for redistribution to fuel stations.

    Reply
  • March 15, 2017 at 3:21 am
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    What is the best diesel fuel?

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    • March 17, 2017 at 6:50 am
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      #2 diesel is what you will more than likely be getting at your local pump.

      Reply
  • March 15, 2017 at 3:22 am
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    Where can you fine the best diesel fuel?

    Reply
    • March 17, 2017 at 6:49 am
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      You are mostly going to find just the #1 and #2 at your local station. #2 is used typically in warmer climates or weather whereas the #1 is used in colder climates or winter.

      Reply
  • August 29, 2017 at 3:56 pm
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