Petroleum diesel, also called petrodiesel, or fossil diesel is the most common type of diesel fuel. It is produced from the fractional distillation of crude oil between 200 °C (392 °F) and 350 °C (662 °F) at atmospheric pressure, resulting in a mixture of carbon chains that typically contain between 9 and 25 carbon atoms per molecule.
Diesel fuel is combustible liquid used as fuel for diesel engines, ordinarily obtained from fractions of crude oil that are less volatile than the fractions used in gasoline. In diesel engines the fuel is ignited not by a spark, as in gasoline engines, but by the heat of air compressed in the cylinder, with the fuel injected in a spray into the hot compressed air. Diesel fuel releases more energy on combustion than equal volumes of gasoline, so diesel engines generally produce better fuel economy than gasoline engines. In addition, the production of diesel fuel requires fewer refining steps than gasoline, so retail prices of diesel fuel traditionally have been lower than those of gasoline (depending on the location, season, and taxes and regulations).