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Adirondackwannabe's avatar

What would be the result of putting kerosene in your car gas tank?

Asked by Adirondackwannabe (33825 points ) June 29th, 2012

A little while ago I stopped at a convenience store for my newspapers. (Yeah, dino). There was an elderly lady at the gas pumps, but she was trying to use the kerosene pump. Yeah, scary that she’s even driving. I stopped her and explained she needed the gas pump and after she kept working on getting the kerosene pump into her car, I took it away from her and put the gas pump in for her. I assume she made out okay, because I left fast wondering about the upcoming explosion. But I have been wondering, how big of a mess kerosene would make of a gas powered car? As always, humor is appreciated.

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6 Answers

tedd's avatar

Actually, most fuel injector cleaners are basically just kerosene.

You can essentially “run” your car on any hydrocarbon, including kerosene. The problem is compared to regular gasoline, kerosene is very low octane, and it would misfire/pre-ignite.. causing the car to run like crap (if it ran much at all). This would likely do a lot of damage to the engine, but unfortunately for humors sake… you probably wouldn’t have witnessed an explosion.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

I wish @Cruiser was still around. I bet he could help answer this.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Kerosene will make the car buck, smoke, cough, ping, “run-on” after shut-off of engine and worst case overheat.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

She may have thought the price was great!

Kerosene is cheaper than unleaded. ;>)

LuckyGuy's avatar

I can answer from actual engine testing experience:
If it is put in a Diesel engine it will work fine. Kerosene is basically the same as diesel fuel minus the additives for lubrication and other small factors like color dye and road tax.

In a gasoline engine mixed 50— 50 with gasoline it will cause some engine to knock unless they have ESC (electronic spark control) which will adjust the timing. The timing will be retarded so far, the performance will be reduced but the engine will start and run with no visible problems.
If you put in 100% kerosene, the engine will start in warm weather, but will knock very badly – so badly you can melt the pistons. Don’t do it.
Your car might not start at all in cold weather (below freezing).

tedibear's avatar

A small story to share… my dad had a Model A during World War II while he was in the Navy. Gasoline was rationed, but he had access to plane fuel. They cut it with kerosene to lower the octane and put that in the car!

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