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Automotive glossary: What is Diesel or Diesel Fuel?

Definition of Diesel: Diesel fuel is made of crude oil, and is similar to heating oil and petroleum. In contrast to petrol engine fuels (=gasoline), diesel is used in so called self-igniting engines. I.e., the fuel is not ignited within the combustion chamber by a spark, but ignites itself by the heat that arises from the compression through the piston going upwards. Also, diesel is not being gasified, but injected into the cylinder by the injection nozzles of the diesel engine, and thereby atomized. In modern diesel engines, using heating oil, which is also forbidden in many countries, leads to the destruction of the exhaust control system within a short span of time, as heating oil contains a many times higher amount of sulfur. Diesel, in contrast to petrol, has lubricating attributes.

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