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Diesel Oil vs. Gas Oil: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on December 17, 2023
Diesel oil is a heavy-duty engine lubricant, while gas oil, also known as red diesel, is used for heating and off-road vehicles.

Key Differences

Diesel oil, a type of engine oil, is designed specifically for diesel engines, offering high lubrication and efficiency. Gas oil, in contrast, is a lighter distillate of crude oil used in heating systems and in engines for non-road activities.
Gas oil has a lower viscosity compared to diesel oil, making it less suitable for high-pressure engines. Diesel oil, with its higher viscosity, ensures better engine protection and performance under heavy loads.
Diesel oil often contains additives to enhance engine performance and longevity, whereas gas oil is more refined and is used mainly for combustion rather than lubrication.
Diesel oil is regulated for its environmental impact, with strict standards on emissions. Gas oil, often colored to indicate its tax-exempt status, is not intended for use in standard road vehicles.
In terms of availability, diesel oil is globally accessible at fuel stations, while gas oil is typically obtained through specialized suppliers for its specific industrial and heating applications.

Comparison Chart

Primary Use

Fuel for diesel engines in vehicles and machinery
Fuel for heating, agricultural and construction equipment


Higher, providing better lubrication for engines
Lower, suitable for smaller engines and burners

Taxation and Color

Regularly taxed; clear or green color
Often red-dyed for tax exemption purposes

Environmental Impact

Subject to emissions regulations
Less regulated, used in non-road applications


Widely available at fuel stations
Obtained through specialized suppliers

Diesel Oil and Gas Oil Definitions

Diesel Oil

Diesel oil is used in heavy-duty engines.
Industrial generators often run on diesel oil.

Gas Oil

Gas oil serves as an economical fuel alternative.
To save costs, the company switched to gas oil for its heating needs.

Diesel Oil

Diesel oil is a high viscosity engine lubricant.
Trucks use diesel oil for better engine performance.

Gas Oil

Gas oil is used in off-road engines and heaters.
Gas oil heaters are common in remote locations.

Diesel Oil

Diesel oil is a refined petroleum product for diesel engines.
Regular diesel oil changes keep the engine running smoothly.

Gas Oil

Gas oil is a lower grade of diesel fuel.
The construction site used gas oil for its machinery.

Diesel Oil

Diesel oil aids in engine lubrication and cooling.
The mechanic checked the diesel oil level during maintenance.

Gas Oil

Gas oil is a light diesel fuel for heating and non-road vehicles.
The farmer used gas oil for his tractor.

Diesel Oil

Diesel oil reduces engine wear and tear.
High-quality diesel oil extends the life of vehicle engines.

Gas Oil

Gas oil, also known as red diesel, is used in agriculture.
Gas oil is commonly stored in farm fuel tanks.


Is diesel oil the same as gasoline?

No, it's heavier and less volatile than gasoline, and used in different types of engines.

What is diesel oil?

Diesel oil is a type of fuel derived from crude oil used primarily in diesel engines.

What are the main uses of diesel oil?

Primarily used in transportation, for powering diesel engines in cars, trucks, and buses.

Can diesel oil freeze?

It can thicken in cold temperatures, leading to potential engine issues.

How is diesel oil produced?

It's produced through the fractional distillation of crude oil in refineries.

How is diesel oil different from biodiesel?

Biodiesel is made from vegetable oils or animal fats, while diesel oil comes from crude oil.

Can diesel oil be used in any diesel engine?

Yes, but engine compatibility with specific diesel grades should be checked.

How does gas oil differ from diesel oil?

It's similar to diesel but often contains higher sulfur content and is dyed for identification.

What is the cetane number in diesel oil?

The cetane number measures the combustion quality of diesel fuel during compression ignition.

What is gas oil?

Gas oil, also known as red diesel, is a heavy fuel oil used in off-road vehicles and machinery.

Is gas oil legal for road use?

It's illegal in many places for use in road vehicles due to tax differences.

Is diesel oil more efficient than gasoline?

Diesel engines are generally more fuel-efficient than gasoline engines.

How is gas oil taxed differently from diesel oil?

It's usually taxed at a lower rate, intended for non-road use.

Can gas oil be used for heating?

Yes, it's commonly used in commercial and industrial heating systems.

Does diesel oil produce more pollution than gasoline?

Diesel engines emit less CO2 but can produce more NOx and particulates.

Can gas oil be used in diesel cars?

Technically, it can be used but is illegal and may damage the engine.

What is the flash point of gas oil?

The flash point is typically higher than diesel, making it less flammable.

What color is gas oil?

It's often dyed red to distinguish it from regular diesel.

What are the uses of gas oil?

Used in agricultural, construction, and industrial machinery, and as heating fuel.

Is gas oil environmentally friendly?

It's less eco-friendly than some alternatives due to higher sulfur content and emissions.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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