In the modern age, the world depends on all sorts of energy to power our utilities, whether it’s fossil fuels, renewables or kinetic energy sources. Our energy needs have increased greatly since the Industrial Revolution and fossil fuels produce the amount we require to meet this growing demand. These fossil fuels include coal and natural gas, but, in this blog we’re going to explore the third – oil or fuel oil.
From what it is to how it is used, this blog will tell you everything you need to know about fuel oil, delving into the many different uses of fuel oil along with the benefits of using it.
What is fuel oil?
To start, what exactly is fuel oil? There are many different oils available, whether it’s for transportation or cooking, but fuel oil is essentially oil that is used as fuel in an engine or furnace. Different examples of fuel oil depend on the process of distillation whereby, usually, the oil starts as crude oil or refined petroleum. From this, these oils can transform into different fuel oils such as kerosene, lubricating oil, jet fuel and more, and these are then used to heat homes, power machines or transport goods.
Fuel oil is used for different things and is known by different names such as:
- Diesel fuel
- Furnace oil
- Home heating oil
- Industrial heating oil
- Marine fuel
But what are the many different uses of fuel oil and how are they applied? Here, we explore where fuel oil can be used.
Domestic: Heating oil
When in the home during the winter, there may come a time that you feel you need to utilise your heating system and many people use heating oil to do this. Domestic heating oil is the most common form of fuel oil in domestic settings and there are two different types, commonly known as kerosene or home heating oil. Although this started as lamp oil in the 19th century, used to light up households and street lamps, kerosene was refined from crude oil and now is used to heat homes.
Wanting to keep a warm home during the colder months of the year is only natural and many households use heating oil systems to do this. If you’re looking to keep warm and cosy in the cold rather than suffer whilst wrapped in hundreds of blankets, heating oil burns at over 70 degrees Celsius, meaning it is hotter than other gas-based or electrical systems, ensuring that a household will heat up quickly and efficiently.
Commercial: Diesel fuel for fleets
As well as heating oil for homes, this same oil can also be sold commercially for businesses, whether it’s to heat a warehouse floor or a small city-based office. However, the most common use of fuel oil within commercial industries is diesel. Although you probably know what diesel is, this fuel is usually used in diesel engines, including machinery and vehicles.
From transporting goods to powering manufacturing machinery, commercial fuel is a crucial part of many business operations and without it, transport would be hindered and profits would suffer. National and international trade is the life-blood of many commercial industries, meaning that diesel fuel plays a huge part in getting our bread to our bakers, our veg to our grocers, our essentials to our supermarkets and our fashion to our clothing stores. For this trade to take off, fleets of vehicles are required to navigate the country, collecting and delivering a whole host of items; diesel fuel is used to keep these lorries moving and on-schedule for a success.
As well as vehicle fleets for trade, there are other commercial fleets that might require diesel fuel, such as removalists companies, car rentals, taxi services, public bus companies, emergency service departments, haulage companies and much more.
Agriculture and construction: Gas engine oil
Similar to commercial industries, agriculture relies heavily on vehicles to get the job done, from hay baling to harvesting. However, there is a different sort of fuel available in this industry, namely gas oil or ‘red diesel’.
Commonly used in construction and agricultural vehicles, gas oil is used to operate vehicles and machines such as excavators, cranes, tractors and combine harvesters. Essentially, this fuel is very similar to road diesel (‘white diesel’) but a red dye has been added to make it distinguishable by the VOSO and the police if it’s being misused. It can be used by standard road vehicles and you could face a heavy fine if caught doing so.
To help farming and construction industries along, gas oil is essential for running these vehicles. And, did you know that gas oil is also used by travelling fairs and carnivals to power their generators?
The benefits of using fuel oil
With different energy options out there, why do so many people opt for fuel oil as a means to generate heat, electricity or movement? Here are some of the top benefits of using fuel oil:
- Cost effective – when it comes to domestic oil prices, heating oil is considered one of the cheapest options for heating a home. As many homeowners tend to own their own tank, this means they also save money on rental fees and are free to stock up on oil when it suits them and their budget. Finally, heating oil is also cheaper than mains gas, LPG, renewables or electric systems. But more than this, general fuel oil, such as diesel, tends to be cheaper than it’s counterparts.
- Safe – fuel oil doesn’t have the same level of risk as it is non-explosive and will only ignite in an advanced furnace system meaning, if there is a leak, it won’t explode when exposed to a naked flame. With this in mind, this factor makes heating oil particularly popular with many households around the UK as it ensures peace of mind.
- Efficient – although fossil fuels and oils are considered damaging to the environment and we should be aiming to cut down where possible, most fuel oils are actually a very efficient energy source. For example, heating oil systems perform at 90% efficiency meaning that every pound spent, 90 pence of this will be used to heat your home. This is compared to gas-based heating systems (70%) or electrical systems (30%). Diesel oil is also more efficient compared to petrol and equates to higher fuel efficiency. With this in mind, a fuel oil system can give you a decent return on your investment.
- Warmer – if you’re using your oil for heating purposes, an oil heat flame burns at 70 degrees Celsius meaning that it heats up a home a lot quicker than an electrical or gas-based system would.
- Popular – because of popularity, fuel oils will be in demand for a long time to come. From heating homes to running their business fleet, domestic, commercial, agricultural, construction, industrial and marine sectors will continue to need fuel oil for years to come.
Stoddards – Reliable fuel suppliers for domestic, commercial and agricultural industries
With so many applications and uses for fuel oils, from kerosene to diesel, there’s nothing that can’t be achieved. Whether you’re in need of fuel oil for domestic, commercial or agricultural purposes, Stoddards in Stoke-on-Trent can help. We are a professional and reliable fuel company who can provide high-quality fuel options for your home or business – for more information, get in touch with us today.