Diesel fuel

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Diesel fuel
Boiling curves
Qualitative boiling processes
other names

Diesel, diesel oil, AGO (Automotive Gasoil)

Brief description Fuel for compression ignition piston engines; colorless to yellowish liquid with a typical diesel odor
CAS number


Physical state liquid

2.0 ... 4.5 mm 2 / s (40 ° C)


0.820 ... 0.845 kg / L (15 ° C)

calorific value

43.0 MJ / kg (11.9 kWh / kg; 34.7 MJ / L), 9.7 kWh / L

Calorific value

45.4 MJ / kg (12.6 kWh / kg; 37.4 MJ / L), 10.4 kWh / L

Cetane number
  • > 51 CZ (standard)
  • > 60 CZ (ARAL Ultimate Diesel)
Boiling range

141 ... 462 ° C

Flash point

> 56 ° C

Ignition temperature ≥225 ° C
Temperature class T3
Carbon dioxide emissions from combustion

2.65 kg / L

safety instructions
GHS hazard labeling from  Regulation (EC) No. 1272/2008 (CLP) , expanded if necessary
02 - Highly / extremely flammable 08 - Dangerous to health 07 - Warning 09 - Dangerous for the environment


H and P phrases H: 226-304-332-315-351-373-411
P: 210-260-273-280-301 + 310-331
UN number 1202
Hazard number 30th
As far as possible and customary, SI units are used. Unless otherwise noted, the data given apply to standard conditions .

Diesel fuel (also called diesel or diesel oil ) is a mixture of different hydrocarbons that is suitable as fuel for a diesel engine . In deviation from this, there is the specification for marine diesel (marine diesel oil) .


Rudolf Diesel (1883)

Diesel is a deonym after Rudolf Diesel , the inventor of the diesel engine. Biodiesel is, if precautionary measures are taken, also suitable for operating engines using the diesel process , but chemically it is a different substance.


There are currently several types of mineral oil-based diesel fuels for passenger cars on the German market, all of which must meet the requirements of DIN EN  590 in accordance with Section 4 of the 10th BImSchV :

In the case of premium fuels in particular, it can be seen that brand companies try to differentiate themselves from other suppliers through special additives or quality improvements.

After adapting DIN EN 590 (May 2010 edition) to the requirements of EC Directive 98/70 / EC, FAME admixture of up to 7 % by volume ("B7 diesel") is permitted to meet the biofuel quota  . The national standard DIN 51628 (August 2008 edition) for B7 diesel is therefore no longer required and is no longer required.

Since 2013, a diesel fuel with an increased proportion of regenerative components has been developed, which is known as R33. In addition to the biofuel, hydrogenated vegetable oil is added so that 33% comes from non-fossil sources.


Diesel is a mixture of kerosene , various middle distillate fractions, currently up to seven percent by volume of biodiesel and various additives (in the ppm range). Kerosene and gas oil are mainly by fractionation of oil recovered as middle distillate fractions and desulfurization for diesel production (see: hydrodesulfurization ). Middle distillate fractions from cracking plants are also used [z. B. Hydrocracker kerosene (HCU), HCU gas oil]. Diesel is a mixture tailored to the required qualities, a blend . The available components can vary in quality (depending on the crude oil), so that each batch may have to be produced with different mixing ratios (kerosene / light gas oil / heavy gas oil) in order to be able to meet all the required specifications. Furthermore, the products heating oil  EL and Jet are in direct competition with diesel fuel with regard to (almost) all components (see also: joint production ). Different demand volumes of the middle distillate products therefore have an influence on the composition of the diesel.

In order to influence the cold properties of diesel fuel, in particular to prevent flocculation, an increased proportion of kerosene must be added in winter (see below, CFPP).


Tetranitromethane , amyl nitrate , acetone peroxide or 2-ethylhexyl nitrate can be added to raise the ignitability to the specified specification values ​​and thus improve the ignitability of the diesel fuel . These additions increase partly toxicity ( toxicity ) of the fuel. The criterion for ignitability is the cetane number  (CZ). The higher the cetane number, the lower the ignition delay , which characterizes the time span between the start of injection and auto-ignition of the fuel.

The cloud point and the filterability limit ( Cold Filter Plugging Point , CFPP) can be reduced by using appropriate additives. Such additives are particularly necessary in winter so that the vehicle's diesel filter does not clog in freezing temperatures. Alternatively, small amounts of kerosene (CZ ≈45) can be added to the diesel (CZ> 51) ( winter diesel ), but this reduces the cetane number somewhat.

By schmiereigenschaftserhöhende additives (lubricity additives) the lubricity of the diesel fuel can be guaranteed (s. U.). The lubricating property is specified with the HFRR value.

In addition to these most important additives, a large number of other additives such as oxidation inhibitors, anti-foam agents, corrosion protection agents, detergents to protect against deposits in the injection system, conductivity improvers, flavorings and biocides are added.

In 2007, around 35.3 million tons of diesel fuel (including inland waterway diesel) were produced in Germany.


The main components of diesel fuel are predominantly alkanes , cycloalkanes and aromatic hydrocarbons , each with around 9 to 22  carbon atoms per molecule and a boiling range between 170 ° C and 390 ° C. Before 1995, this fuel had a very wide fractionation range , which is why the comparatively large number of heavy components could lead to soot in the engine. The more stringent specifications ( density , 95% point, see below) have reduced this risk.

Further properties are determined by the specifications.


Other ingredients and properties are regulated by the European standard EN 590 . The standard was published in Germany as a DIN standard and has replaced the previously valid DIN 51601 and DIN 51628 as DIN EN 590. Furthermore, many brand companies set additional internal specifications or tighten the specifications with regard to the standard.

Fuel pump sticker in Germany

Fuel pump sticker, sulfur-free diesel fuel

According to § 13 of the 10th BImSchV , the quality of fuels must be made clearly visible at the petrol pumps and at the petrol station . In Germany you will therefore find the round stickers with the text sulfur-free diesel fuel as required by the 10th BImSchV (Annex 3) on all diesel fuel pumps .

United States

The diesel fuel in the USA has a lower cetane number than European standards and until 2006 did not have a mandatory reduction in the sulfur content. Since June 1, 2006, the refineries have had to produce 80% low-sulfur diesel and since October 15, 2006 only this may be used for road traffic. The so-called ultra-low sulfur diesel ( ULSD for short ; English for ultra-low sulfur diesel ) sets the new maximum limit at 15 ppm - previously 500 ppm were allowed in the USA. Transitional regulations existed for other uses, such as marine diesel, but these expired in several stages by June 1, 2010. An immediate transition could not take place, since low-sulfur diesel has lower lubricating properties, which have to be adjusted by synthetic additives or the addition of biodiesel.

Marine diesel (marine diesel oil)

Ingredients and properties for marine diesel oil are regulated by the ISO  8217 standard; Diesel for the German inland navigation according to § 4 of the 10th BImSchV . It is a denser diesel than that for motor vehicles . It is used, for example, in smaller marine diesel engines .

Larger marine diesel engines, however, usually run on marine fuel , a mixture of heavy oil and diesel. Exhaust gas cleaning is technically feasible with catalysts and particle filters; for older ships, which make up the majority, but complex, expensive and not yet mandatory. The limit values ​​for nitrogen oxides are often exceeded, and sulfur oxides and fine dust are also released.

Synthetic diesel

The term synthetic diesel comes from gas-to-liquids technology (GtL). Another hydrocarbon is first converted into a synthesis gas , from which longer-chain, liquid diesel-like hydrocarbons are synthesized via the Fischer-Tropsch synthesis . The most important raw material is natural gas. A synthetic diesel, BtL fuel , can also be obtained from biomass . The fuel obtained from natural gas is used in Indonesia and several European countries to improve the quality of diesel. GtL diesel does not contain any sulfur , nitrogen or aromatics . The cetane number with 75 to 80 and lubricating properties ( HFRR ) are above average.

Emulsion fuel

In order to reduce emissions such as soot , nitrogen oxides and others, stationary diesel engines are operated with so-called emulsion fuels. Water and an emulsifier are added to the diesel fuel , thereby achieving a better distribution of the fuel in the combustion chamber, which helps to reduce emissions. In practice, such processes save expensive soot filters .


In 2015, around 36.75 million tons of diesel fuel (including inland waterway diesel) were used in Germany. The excess production is exported (mainly to France, Austria, Poland and Spain).


Instead of diesel fuel that meets the specification, EL heating oil also works in diesel engines . The risks and legal consequences are described under EL heating oil .

Diesel exhaust

If the exhaust gases from diesel fuel have only been considered to be "potentially carcinogenic" since 1988, this assessment was  tightened to "carcinogenic" by the World Health Organization  (WHO ) in June 2012 after investigations by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), and diesel exhaust gases were therefore classified in Group 1 of hazardous substances added. In contrast, the rating for motor gasoline has not yet been changed and remained at “possibly carcinogenic” (group 2B of hazardous substances).


The prices for diesel fuel (trade name: AGO = Automotive Gasoil) are based on the Rotterdam market in Europe . Diesel is traded in US dollars per 1,000 kg (US $ / t). Various publications report (sometimes daily) on current trading prices and volumes, for example ICIS and OMR The reference density used in trading (to relate the price of a current batch with a given density to the quotation) is 0.845 kg / dm³ ( as with  EL heating oil ). Furthermore, transport costs and trading profit margins must be taken into account.

End consumer prices in a European comparison

Prices for diesel in German-speaking areas and the surrounding countries (June 2011 based on ADAC surveys, 2012 to 2020 based on surveys by Touring Club Switzerland) per liter in euros:

Price 2008 to 2020 for diesel fuel in euros per liter in German-speaking countries and surrounding countries
country Apr 2008 June 2011 March 2012 Feb. 2013 Feb. 2014 Feb. 2015 Feb 2016 March 2017 Apr. 2018 March 2019 Feb 2020
BelgiumBelgium Belgium 1.33 1.38 1.55 1.50 1.45 1.28 1.09 1.32 1.45 1.54 1.48
DenmarkDenmark Denmark 1.46 1.52 1.65 1.43 1.43 1.28 1.16 1.32 1.38 1.50 1.47
GermanyGermany Germany 1.38 1.40 1.52 1.44 1.37 1.16 0.99 1.17 1.18 1.27 1.24
FranceFrance France 1.29 1.42 1.55 1.48 1.40 1.30 1.08 1.37 1.41 1.47 1.41
ItalyItaly Italy 1.45 1.41 1.72 1.69 1.68 1.43 1.28 1.40 1.44 1.49 1.49
LuxembourgLuxembourg Luxembourg 1.14 1.17 1.28 1.24 1.20 1.08 0.86 1.01 1.07 1.10 1.09
NetherlandsNetherlands Netherlands 1.36 1.38 1.51 1.52 1.50 1.36 1.13 1.31 1.40 1.46 1.45
AustriaAustria Austria 1.41 1.36 1.42 1.38 1.33 1.12 0.95 1.12 1.15 1.22 1.18
PolandPoland Poland 1.19 1.26 1.40 1.31 1.27 1.10 0.84 1.06 1.08 1.18 1.20
SwitzerlandSwitzerland Switzerland 1.28 1.46 1.52 1.56 1.51 1.44 1.23 1.47 1.41 1.52 1.55
SlovakiaSlovakia Slovakia 1.28 1.36 1.45 1.42 1.36 1.12 0.94 1.17 1.17 1.19 1.24
SloveniaSlovenia Slovenia 1.16 1.22 1.34 1.41 1.36 1.22 0.99 1.19 1.25 1.27 1.19
Czech RepublicCzech Republic Czech Republic 1.27 1.42 1.51 1.43 1.31 1.11 0.93 1.11 1.14 1.19 1.23
HungaryHungary Hungary 1.19 1.38 1.50 1.47 1.36 1.21 0.96 1.20 1.19 1.25 1.15



Development of fuel prices for diesel in Germany since 1950

In order to uncover any violations of antitrust law, a market transparency office for fuels was set up at the Federal Cartel Office, which is supposed to create market transparency as far as possible at petrol stations . It started trial operation on September 12, 2013.

taxes and expenses

In Germany, this includes (in each case super or diesel) the levy for the petroleum storage network with 0.27 or 0.35 ct / l, the mineral oil tax / energy tax with 65.45 or 47.04 ct / l and the sales tax of 19 %.

With the product price and the contribution margin (which includes the oil stock amount) as well as the energy tax (formerly “mineral oil tax”), a “new” net price is determined on which the 19% sales tax is then levied.

Composition of the fuel price in June 2012
ct / L
% Diesel
ct / L
% Germany
Product price 054.90 057.20 Listing Rotterdam and refinery costs
contribution margin + 014.59 015.63 Transport, storage, distribution, administration, admixture, ... contains oil storage amount of 0.27 (S) or 0.35 ct / L (D)
Net price = 069.49 072.83 Net price of the mineral oil company
Mineral oil tax + 065.45 047.04 Energy tax, fixed value per liter per variety; each includes 15.4 ct / L eco tax. Due to its higher density, diesel contains around 4% more calorific value per volume, but the energy tax rate on diesel is 18.41 ct / L lower than that on gasoline.
before (VAT) tax = 134.94 119.87 Net price in accordance with the Energy Tax Act
value added tax + 025.64 022.77 19%
Consumer price = 160.58 100 142.64 100
of which taxes 091.09 56.7 069.81 48.9

Price development

The commercial consumer had to pay 13 pfennigs (pfennigs) per liter for diesel in 1935, 20 to 22 pfennigs in 1937, 32 pfennigs in 1939 and 39 pfennigs in the early 1950s (information from the Central Office for Mineral Oil).


In Austria, less mineral oil tax is levied on diesel fuel than on petrol, although a liter of diesel has more mass than petrol (petrol) due to its higher density and diesel also contains more combustion energy per mass than petrol because diesel has more carbon than petrol and contains less hydrogen .

In Austria, more than half of the cars (more than in many other European countries) and all trucks have diesel engines.

In the course of the climate crisis , the demand for an increase in the mineral oil tax rate for diesel to that for gasoline is growing louder.

Even if there is no pronounced fuel tourism, transit vehicles fill up more fuel than they use in Austria. The drivers of these vehicles strive to reach Austria's first petrol station with an empty tank as possible and to leave the country with the tank as full as possible.

Tyrolean governor Günther Platter (ÖVP) suggested that the diesel price for passing trucks could be increased.

Walter Obwexer , European lawyer at the University of Innsbruck, would see an increase in the diesel price only for transit trucks as contrary to EU law. A variant to be examined after his statement on August 12, 2019 would be to increase the MöSt on diesel and to refund part of it for trucks registered in Germany. "Other EU countries such as Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands would already go this way." Ultimately, he instead spoke out in favor of a complete abolition of the diesel privilege , i.e. the harmonization of mineral oil tax rates. An increase in the commuter allowance for car commuters could encourage employees to drive. The Tyrolean Chamber of Commerce and Labor had both spoken out against a higher diesel price.

No driving for transit trucks to certain petrol stations

In the summer of 2019, special driving bans for trucks with a total length of more than twelve meters on sections of the road near the autobahn leading to cheap petrol stations were issued in the state of Tyrol so that these are no longer blocked by transit truck traffic. The measures apply from August 1, 2018 and until January 15, 2019 from Monday to Saturday from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. between Wattens and Fritzens and from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Innsbruck- Süd motorway exit .

The fines in the amount of 220 to 300 euros are carried out immediately. Further measures at these and other motorway exits (e.g. Kufstein- Süd, Wörgl- West, Brixlegg ) are planned from 2020.

See also

Web links

Commons : Diesel  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Diesel  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d e f g Entry on diesel fuel in the GESTIS material database of the IFA , accessed on July 3, 2017(JavaScript required) .
  2. a b c d Standard DIN EN 590: 2017-10 Fuels for motor vehicles - Diesel fuel - Requirements and test methods ( beuth.de ).
  3. ^ Jan Hoinkis: Chemistry for Engineers . Wiley-VCH, Weinheim 2015, ISBN 978-3-527-68461-8 ( limited preview in Google book search).
  4. Erich Hahne: Technical Thermodynamics: Introduction and Application . 5., completely redesigned. Edition. Oldenbourg-Verlag, Munich 2010, ISBN 978-3-486-59231-3 , p. 406, 408 .
  5. ^ Rolf Isermann: Electronic management of motor vehicle drives . Wiesbaden 2010, p. 1.
  6. Entry on Fuels, diesel, no. 2 in the Classification and Labeling Inventory of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), accessed on July 3, 2017. Manufacturers or distributors can expand the harmonized classification and labeling .
  7. Coburg University is testing the new diesel R33 biofuel. August 5, 2013. Retrieved September 29, 2019 .
  8. Premium diesel R33 is kind to the environment. Retrieved September 29, 2019 .
  9. Frost paralyzes Berlin's Opel Zafira police cars. In: Welt Online . January 4, 2016. Retrieved June 29, 2017 .
  10. a b Annual report 2016 of the Mineralölwirtschaftsverband e. V., (MWV) (PDF); accessed on October 7, 2016.
  11. Marlene Weiss: Thick air over the water. Compared to many marine engines, diesel vehicles are downright clean on the road. Heavy oil is burned on the high seas, while particle filters and catalytic converters are unusual on rivers such as the Rhine. In: Tages-Anzeiger . August 16, 2017, p. 36.
  12. GtL Diesel ( Memento from February 19, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 818 kB).
  13. [1]
  14. WHO reassesses emissions: Diesel exhausts are carcinogenic. Süddeutsche Zeitung on June 13, 2012.
  15. ^ ADAC: Refueling abroad
  16. Current gasoline prices in Europe according to TCS: gasoline prices , Touring Club Switzerland on February 14, 2020, accessed on March 9, 2020.
  17. Competition in the energy sector. BMWi , archived from the original on October 11, 2013 ; accessed on September 30, 2013 .
  18. Composition of the fuel price
  19. Oil reserve amount from April 1, 2012
  20. Note: In Austria, less mineral oil tax per liter is added to diesel than to petrol.
  21. ^ Federal Railways in Defense (10/1950), Die Zeit
  22. Transport: Higher diesel prices for trucks "unlawful"
  23. Ordinances No. 597-598 (pdf), Bote für Tirol, Item 29/2019 of July 17, 2019, accessed on August 12, 2019.