You can never be too careful when handling potentially explosive materials. This is why gas stations ask that customers pay attention to what they’re doing and never leave a fuel pump unattended when fueling.
While most people know that gasoline is a highly flammable and explosive fuel, and is diesel any worse? Is diesel more explosive than gasoline? Let’s look and see!
Can Diesel Cause an Explosion?
Diesel fuel is a flammable liquid and thus can catch fire, but it requires a much higher flash point compared to more flammable fuels like gasoline. The chances of a diesel explosion are much lower than if an individual works with gasoline. The diesel fuel would need to reach its flash point and be exposed to a spark to ignite.
Is this likely to occur in a typical scenario? No. However, you can’t rule out the possibilities. You should always handle any fuel with extreme caution to ensure the safety of yourself and others around you.
Is Diesel Explosive Like Gasoline?
Diesel is a combustible fuel and, thus, is substantially less flammable than gasoline. If you were to toss a match onto a puddle of diesel fuel, the match would likely go out within seconds. This is because diesel has a much higher flashpoint than gasoline.
Diesel’s substantially higher flashpoint means it needs to be subjected to heat for an extended time before it will ignite. You can watch a demonstration of this to see that the creator had to hold a match to the diesel fuel for nearly one minute before it reached its flashpoint and ignited. It’s not nearly as easy to ignite diesel as you might expect. It can take a serious amount of effort in most cases.
Which Fuel Is Most Explosive?
Gasoline is substantially more explosive than diesel fuel. This is why Purdue University reminds farmers and anyone who regularly works with diesel fuel of the importance of safely handling and storing gasoline.
Doug Kingman, a farm safety expert at Purdue University, said, “Farmers who use diesel fuel daily can become indifferent to the hazards associated with other fuel types, such as gasoline or liquid propane gas.” People can forget how incredibly dangerous gasoline can be and how easily it can ignite.
Purdue University warns that a single gallon of gasoline can vaporize into an explosive vapor that could equal the explosive energy of 83 sticks of dynamite. If these gasoline vapors are lingering in an area, something as simple as starting a car engine, using power tools, or lighting a cigarette would be enough to ignite the vapors and cause a serious situation.
Can Diesel Fuel Ignite With a Spark?
Diesel fuel can ignite with a spark, but it’s difficult. The fuel would need to be raised to between 125 and 180 degrees before it can ignite. A spark would have a very hard time raising diesel fuel to the point of igniting. Even tossing a match onto a puddle of diesel fuel would not be enough to ignite the fuel.
Is Diesel Safe to Touch?
While diesel fuel is safer to touch than gasoline, it’s not recommended to regularly subject your hands to it. Diesel can cause severe skin irritation, and your skin can become dry and cracked. Extended exposure to diesel fuel can even result in severe burns. It’s a good idea to wear thick gloves when handling diesel.
Which Gas Is Not Flammable?
There are a few non-flammable gasses. They are helium, compressed air, carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and argon. However, just because these gasses aren’t flammable doesn’t mean they aren’t still dangerous.
For example, carbon dioxide has been responsible for approximately 50,000 deaths in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that 430 people die from carbon dioxide yearly.
Why Is Diesel More Expensive Than Gas?
If you drive a diesel vehicle, you know that the price of diesel is typically almost always higher than that of gasoline. Diesel generally is more expensive than gasoline because of increased production costs, taxes, and demand for diesel.
Diesel is the primary fuel source for trucks, trains, construction, and farm equipment. These are the pieces of equipment that keep our country running and require a tremendous amount of fuel. The demand for diesel can far exceed the supply, which drives up the price even more.
Is Diesel Safer Than Gasoline?
Diesel gets a pretty bad reputation when it comes to its safety and impact on the environment. Overall, diesel is safer for handling as it’s less likely to cause a serious explosion, and due to EPA regulations, diesel engines must meet nearly identical standards as gasoline engines.
However, when you consider that they produce less carbon dioxide, run more efficiently, and last longer, it’s hard not to feel that diesel is safer for us and the environment.
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