Kerosene in the car?

I saw the question about leftover 2-stroke fuel disposed of in the car gas tank, and wondered about leftover kerosene (for a space heater) at winter’s end. Say, 1 gallon per 10?

At 1 in 10 ration the octane will be cut considerably and may result in detonation. Although I have no clue how to determine the safe ratio get the ratio as dilute as feasible.

Are you talking about kerosene in the little green cans used for camping? I believe that will keep if the can is sealed.

Instead of 1:10, try 1 quart per tankful (1/4 gallon in 10). If the first trial works OK, do the other 3 quarts the same way.

Quit playing around… kero is not fuel for camping or otherwise. It has a use to clean grease in industrial usage. In rural areas it makes a good starting fuel to burn controlled stacks of garbage wood. Not even a good fire starter. Usually the OLD containers are SATURATED WITH water…


When I lived in the country, our neighbor had a pre WW II John Deere tractor with two fuel tanks-- one for kerosene and one for gasoline. The tractor was started on gasoline and after the engine warmed up, could be switched over to kerosene. Kerosene was cheaper than gasoline in the old days. I’m certain that modern engines would not run on kerosene. As I remember, these old 2 cylinder John Deere tractors had a very low compression ratio and ran at very low rpm.

Take a look at the contents of any engine cleaner like Gunk…Basically it’s just pure Kerosene.

I would NOT use it in an engine.

I would keep it around as a cleaner/degreaser, and as a fire starter, and maybe even as a bee killer (since I believe its the major ingredient in most of the wasp/hornet sprays). I’m sure there are plenty of other uses - including in the space heater. Why wouldn’t you just continue to use it for that?

When I was a kid I mowed lawns for spending money. Money was scarce and I had access to free kerosene. My lawnmower would start and run fine on a mix of half gasoline and half kerosene. If you do this, begin with less kerosene and work your way up to half and half.

Agree with Rod Knox. 1:10 would probably ping. That would not be good for the engine, but some fraction of that mix should be fine if you have the patience.

Kerosene (#1 oil) would burn just fine in a diesel engine at pretty much any mix. It won’t have the lubricity additives or the Cetane rating that pump diesel has, but we are not talking about using it for the life of the engine.

Kerosene probably has too much sulfur in it to actually be legal to mix in any motor vehicle fuel these days, but it’s not like anyone is going to check it.

Kerosene is too for camping, I have a kerosene lantern that I use and the last time I was in Acadia National Park, some 20 something was making fun of it. He was saying the “nobody has used one of those in 50 years’ ( As if he would know )”. He shut up when I pointed out to him that he was stumbling around in the dark and I wasn’t.

In very small amounts it may not effect anything. Get rid of it very slowly. There is a small risk of damaging your vehicle.

I am really struggling with the inference that expensive vehicles including tractors with diesels can be safely use to dispose of aged fuels of any kind. I just hope that if It were a regular practice of the person I buy the next used vehicle from, I be in formed.

IMO, “Andrews” comment says it all… “there is a small risk of damage”. There will be no risk in my vehicles…I agree with all of comments by “cig” and would not use it in any engine or recommend it. The diesel motor (and gas) itself is pretty forgiving, the fuel delivery system is not.

What kind of vehicle are we talking about here?

1976 Plymouth Volare? Kerosene it up, baby!

2012 BMW 540? Maybe not . . .


You quit playing around. Coleman makes lanterns and small stoves for camping that use kerosene for fuel. Please see:


While I’m no expert, a couple bucks worth of fuel whether mixed or diesel or kero, is simply not worth attempting to use in a modern car. I would be afraid of damaging expensive things like the cat converter ($462 for one of two plus labor). When I have a small amount like a quart or so of parts cleaner, I mix it in with the old motor oil before turning it in for recycling. I think your county recycling center will be able to take it no problem.

Alexander Pope would find fertile ground here.

As for dumping kerosene into waste oil, for many reclaim companies that is no problem as the oil is burned in ocean going ships. The reclaimed oil is filtered and centrifuged and dumped into the fuel.

I still can’t figure out why its not just going to be used in the dumb space heater this winter.

Most people don’t use unventilated kerosene space heaters very long…K-1 kerosene (#1 diesel, jet fuel) will burn okay in a gasoline engine at 1 quart per 10 gallons of gas…

“Colman Fuel” in the familiar red and silver can is very pure white gasoline not kerosene.