Gasoline is a highly volatile liquid petroleum product containing a mixture of octane and hydrocarbons. In its natural state, gasoline is generally clear, although it may have a slight amber tinge depending on its clarity. Most gas stations do not sell gasoline in its pure state, though. The fuel you purchase from a gas station will likely have a yellow or green color due to a specially colored additive.
Most gas stations add coloring to gasoline in order to distinguish it from other types of fuel, such as diesel. The color helps customers identify the fuel type at a glance and prevents consumers from using the wrong type of fuel in their vehicles. Some stations may even add specific colors to distinguish the quality grade of the fuel.
If you’re questioning why your gasoline is a strange color, rest assured that it’s normal and will not affect the performance of your vehicle. In this guide, we’ll discuss why and how fuel companies color their products and explain how to tell if you have the right type of fuel for your vehicle.
What are the Different Colors of Gasoline?
Different grades of gasoline have different octane and hydrocarbon proportions and are represented by different colors. The octane rating of gasoline indicates the fuel’s ability to resist “knocking” or “pinging” during combustion. The higher the octane rating, the less likely the fuel is to cause knocking.
Gasoline is typically classified into three different grades:
|Regular||Regular gasoline has the lowest octane rating and is the most common type of fuel sold at gas stations.||Greenish blue additive|
|Mid-grade||Mid-grade gasoline has a higher octane rating than regular gasoline and is typically sold at a higher price.||Yellow|
|Premium||Premium gasoline has the highest octane rating and is typically the most expensive type of fuel sold at gas stations.||Reddish pink|
Most gas stations sell a mix of regular and mid-grade gasoline. Some stations may also sell premium gasoline, but it is not as common. The type of gasoline you should use in your car depends on the manufacturer’s recommendations, which you can find in the owner’s manual or on the inside of the fuel door.
Are Fuel Cans Also Color Coded?
As with gasoline, most fuel companies also store their products in color-coded containers. This helps to prevent mix-ups and guarantees safety during the handling and transportation of these products. For example, red is typically used to indicate gasoline, whereas yellow is used exclusively for diesel. Blue cans are often used for kerosene, and green is used for standard motor oil.
What Color is Diesel?
Just like gasoline, diesel is also colored to differentiate it from other types of fuel. Diesel is a thicker, more energy-dense type of petroleum fuel produced by refining crude oil. In its natural state, diesel is also a clear, colorless liquid. However, most diesel fuel sold at gas stations is dyed red.
The main reason for this is to help consumers identify the fuel type. Diesel is not meant for use in gasoline-powered vehicles and using it in these cars can cause damage to the engine. By coloring diesel red, gas companies can help customers avoid accidentally using the wrong type of fuel.
In some cases, diesel fuel may also be dyed different colors to indicate its quality. For example, higher–quality diesel fuel may be dyed blue, while lower–quality diesel may be dyed green. However, these color-coding systems are not as common as they are for gasoline.
Why Do Gas Companies Add Colorings to Their Fuels?
The main reason why gas companies add color to their products is to help consumers identify the type of fuel they are buying. Different colors are typically used for different types of fuel, such as gasoline, diesel, and kerosene. This color-coding system helps to prevent consumers from accidentally using the wrong type of fuel in their vehicles.
For example, if you were to put diesel fuel in a gasoline-powered car, it would damage the engine. The car would likely run for a short period of time before stalling and would require expensive repairs. By using different colors for different types of fuel, gas companies can help customers avoid this type of mistake.
In some cases, gas companies may also use different colors to indicate the quality of the fuel. For example, higher-octane gasoline may be dyed a different color than lower-octane gasoline. This color-coding system can help customers choose the right type of fuel for their needs.
Should Pure Gasoline Be Colored?
Gasoline is produced by refining crude oil and is made up of a mixture of hydrocarbons. In its natural state, gasoline is a clear, colorless liquid. The refining process may slightly alter the color of gasoline, giving it a slight amber hue. However, the color of the final product is not affected by the additives used in the refining process.
Additives and coloring agents are only added to gasoline after the refining process is complete. These additives serve different purposes, such as preventing corrosion or improving the fuel’s octane rating. Some additives, like MTBE, can actually change the color of gasoline. However, the coloring agents used in gasoline are typically dye-based and have no effect on the fuel’s performance.
The Bottom Line
To sum it up, gasoline is most often a clear liquid, but most gas companies add colorings to it to distinguish it from other types of fuel like diesel. The main purpose of this is to help customers identify the type of fuel they are buying. Some gas stations may also use different colors to indicate the quality grade of the fuel, as well as color-coded containers for added safety.