Can anyone tell me why diesel fuel, which is not as refined as regular gas, is so expensive??? I always thought that diesel fuel was just kerosene with some added sulphur and detergents.
Diesel fuel was once less refined than gasoline, but that isn’t the case anymore. The US government has increased refining standards for diesel fuel, first to low sulfur diesel, now to ultra low sulfur diesel fuel.
The other factor is demand. Demand for diesel fuel is probably higher since it fills 300 gallon tractor trailer fuel tanks while gasoline is usually used in 10-20 gallon fuel tanks.
Oil as it comes out of the ground is a mix of various hydrocarbon products.
The easy way out is to fractionally distill the different parts to get gas, diesel engine oil and tar. (As well a 1,000 other products. Some oil has more of one than another, but none are too far from the average.
Now if, as it is now, more people want diesel, then they need to “Push” the process to produce more diesel.
With more demand for diesel, then the companies should be pushing towards more diesel, but to do that more efficiently means building new plants. Building now plants (or modifying the old ones) means complying with the new pollution control laws and the oil companies would not want to do that, it might mean Exxon will no longer be the most profitable company in the world anymore.
Diesel has a 30% (ballpark) higher energy content than gasoline. So it is only natural that it costs 30% more. And it gets 30% better fuel economy. So it’s all a wash.
Heating oil demand effects diesel fuel prices since they are very close to the same thing. You typically see diesel fuel prices increase in the winter. Right now (in Colorado) we are seeing diesel about 60-70% higher priced than gasoline. The other thing that effects the price of diesel is the different taxes on diesel fuel in the US.