Fuels are solid, liquid or gaseous materials that release energy through combustion. Precisely, any internal combustion engine requires a fuel to operate and offer its best performance. On this occasion, we are going to learn about the types of fuels that exist and which ones are used in vehicles.

The combustion by which energy is released is produced inside the engine of the vehicle or machinery in question. In order to achieve proper combustion, the presence of other elements such as oxygen and heat is necessary. In this way, fuels are harnessed to generate mechanical energy or thermal energy.

Types of fuels

One of the classifications into which fuels are divided is that which distinguishes between solid, liquid and gaseous fuels. Let us see below what each of them consists of and which fuels make up the different types of fuels.

Solid fuels

Solid fuels are those that burn producing ash. The combustion of this type of fuel varies according to the degree of humidity, the speed of propagation, the shape, the nature of the heat source, etc.

Within the solid fuels, we can find coal, wood, paper, fabrics, plastics, textile fibers, lignite, firewood, anthracite, etc.

Liquid fuels

Liquid fuels

Liquid fuels, on the other hand, are those that are in a liquid state at ambient temperature and pressure. They are characterized, above all, by their flash point, at which a sufficient amount of vapor is produced to ignite and catch fire. Thus, it is not actually the liquid that burns, but the vapors.

This type of fuel includes all petroleum derivatives (gasoline, diesel, diesel, kerosene, etc.) as well as alcohols (ethanol, methanol, etc.).

Gaseous fuels

Also known as natural hydrocarbons, gaseous fuels are characterized by simple and rapid combustion, but not instantaneous. In fact, some time is required in the mixture for the reaction to take place. This type of fuel has an ignition temperature.

Among the gaseous fuels we find, for example, all hydrocarbons (methane, ethane, butane, etc.).

What types of fuels are used in vehicles

Although in recent years we have witnessed a proliferation of new fuels for cars, the fact is that gasoline and diesel are still the most common types of fuels used in vehicles today.

What types of fuels are used in vehicles


Diesel fuel is used especially in alternative internal combustion engines. These engines produce ignition of the fuel at high temperatures by compression. This is one of the reasons why diesel engines have a longer service life than gasoline engines.

The higher the quality of the diesel fuel, the better the vehicle’s performance in terms of power and engine care. Diesel is also a more efficient type of fuel than gasoline. In fact, it is increasingly being used in fleets of vehicles, trucks, buses, etc.


Gasoline is a fuel in which various hydrocarbons derived from petroleum are mixed. It is obtained from the fractional distillation of petroleum and is used, in most cases, in internal combustion engines.

A fuel that is characterized by its volatility and high flammability. It also provides a much faster acceleration response than diesel. Gasoline is one of the ideal types of fuels for cars that will not be used for many kilometers.