bison logo

can you run a diesel generator on kerosene?

Using kerosene in diesel generator is possible but not recommended for long-term use due to potential damage from lower lubricity and hotter burning properties.

Table of Contents

Diesel generators undoubtedly run on diesel fuel. But what if you don’t have one available? Can you use kerosene as an alternative to a diesel generator? Using kerosene in a diesel generator is possible but not recommended for long-term use due to potential damage from lower lubricity and hotter burning properties.

Can we use kerosene in a diesel generator?

Indeed, but similar to a 2-stroke, you must incorporate oil to prevent the injection pump from early wear and tear. Additionally, since kerosene has less energy density than diesel, you would have to reduce the generator output by approximately 20%.

Kerosene contains fewer oils than diesel, which can lead to the fuel pump wearing out. Since it burns at a higher temperature than diesel, kerosene can hasten the burning of piston rings, injectors, and valves.

Since the combustion characteristics of kerosene and diesel are very similar, diesel will perform admirably in a kerosene engine.

In most diesel engines, kerosene will burn without damaging them. Kerosene is an authorized fuel for many contemporary diesel engines. The distillation process produces pure kerosene. As a result, it contains no additives, as diesel does.

can run a diesel generator on kerosene

What is kerosene?

Kerosene, a flammable compound obtained from petroleum, is a type of hydrocarbon liquid typically utilized as fuel in jet engines, furnaces, lamps, and heaters. It exhibits a flash point of 38℃ (100℉) and a freezing point of about -40℃/℉. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) advises against its use for household purposes due to its polluting nature. Emissions from kerosene consist of particulate matter that can elevate the risk of cancer, asthma, tuberculosis, respiratory infections, cataracts, and negative pregnancy impacts.

Difference between diesel and kerosene

Kerosene is the number one fuel oil produced by distillation. Diesel fuel is the number 2 most efficient fuel.

Diesel has a higher wax content than kerosene. As a result, diesel emits more BTUs than kerosene.

However, kerosene burns at high temperatures because it does not condense as quickly as diesel. You can mix kerosene with diesel fuel for smoother starting in cold conditions.

So kerosene is a better choice when you are using a generator in winter. Otherwise, the diesel is unbeatable regarding high power and effective backup.

But if you want cheap fuel, kerosene is the best and safest alternative for diesel generators. If you use it correctly, kerosene burns cleaner and improves fuel efficiency by 20 percent.

fill the generator with kerosene or fuel oil

Does kerosene last longer than diesel?

Although kerosene is an excellent means of maintaining cold flow in winter and works as a terrific alternative, it does not burn longer than diesel. Diesel is an industrial fuel required for more extensive operations, and large operations require constant energy. Kerosene is processed through distillation and is more pure than diesel. That’s why kerosene burns faster than diesel.

In contrast, kerosene does not emit toxic fumes when burned, which makes it an environmentally friendly choice. But if your main focus is on long-lasting fuel, go for diesel.

Which is more flammable, kerosene or diesel?

Fuels, whether petrol, diesel, kerosene or gasoline, are flammable and react quickly to fire. However, they all have different response capabilities. Let’s find out which is more explosive, kerosene or diesel.

Kerosene is less volatile as compared to other chemicals, such as gasoline. Gasoline diesel is so flammable that even at -43 °C, it will release flammable vapors to ignite in the presence of an ignition source. Because of this, kerosene is very explosive, yet it is less volatile and much safer to use than gasoline.

fueling of generators

Benefits of using kerosene

There are a few advantages to using kerosene in diesel engines.

a) Kerosene is cheap

The first benefit of running kerosene in your diesel engine is cost. Kerosene is less expensive than diesel fuel, so if filling up at a gas station is too much trouble, kerosene is an excellent alternative.

b) Kerosene has a higher flash point than diesel fuel, making it safer to store and handle.

Kerosene has a higher flash point than diesel, making it safer to store and handle. However, this also means kerosene burns hotter, which can cause more wear on your generator’s engine. Plus, kerosene lacks diesel’s lubricating properties, potentially shortening your generator’s lifespan.

c) Kerosene does not gel as easily

Since kerosene doesn’t solidify as quickly as diesel fuel, it can run much smoother in cooler temperatures. In certain climates, this can be a huge advantage! However, there are additives in diesel fuel that prevent it from burning.

d) Kerosene burns cleaner than diesel fuel, producing fewer emissions.

The structure of kerosene is such that it contains fewer impurities compared to diesel. This means when it’s burned, it produces less soot and other harmful emissions. This can be beneficial for the environment and also for the longevity of your generator as it can help keep the engine cleaner.

running diesel generators on kerosene

Dangers of using kerosene

While lower cost and less risk of gelling may sound like a win-win scenario, using kerosene instead of diesel in a diesel engine also carries many risks.

1) Kerosene is not lubricating

Kerosene is a harsh fuel for your diesel engine, and the lack of lubrication within the fuel can damage your diesel injector pump unless you add lubricant.

2) Kerosene is not that efficient

Because kerosene burns at a lower temperature than diesel (the aspect that prevents gelling in freezing temperatures), it is much less fuel efficient and reduces your engine’s power. If you’re looking for a lot of power you won’t be able to run kerosene through your diesel generator, plus the cost of wasted fuel may be higher than you expect.

3) Kerosene can damage some diesel generators

Although some diesel engines have kerosene as an accepted alternative fuel option, not all do. Running kerosene through your diesel engine can cause many engine problems unless the kerosene is an approved fuel.

4) Using kerosene may void the warranty

Using kerosene may void your generator engine warranty if kerosene is not an approved alternative fuel for your particular engine. Consult your BISON generator supplier before using kerosene.

5) Kerosene is more volatile than diesel fuel, making it more likely to evaporate in hot weather

Kerosene’s higher volatility compared to diesel means it turns into a gas more readily. This can, in turn, lead to easier ignition and potentially smoother engine operation in certain conditions. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s suitable for use in a diesel generator.

6) Kerosene can be more difficult to find than diesel fuel in some areas

In many areas, kerosene can be more difficult to find than diesel fuel. This is because kerosene isn’t as widely used as a fuel source, so fewer retailers stock it.

add kerosene to generator

How to run a diesel generator on kerosene

If you’re in a situation where you need to use kerosene in your diesel generator, here’s a simple guide:

1) Check your generator’s manual: Some diesel generators are designed to run on kerosene, while others are not. It is important to check the owner’s manual to see if your generator is compatible with kerosene.

2) Mix with Diesel: if you can, mix kerosene with diesel fuel. A common ratio is 50% diesel to 50% kerosene. This can help maintain the lubricity of your engine and prevent potential damage.

3) Add a Lubricity Additive: As mentioned earlier, using a lubricity additive can help protect your generator’s engine parts from potential wear and tear caused by kerosene’s lower lubricity.

4) Frequent engine oil changes: Change the engine oil more frequently than when running on diesel fuel. Kerosene burns hotter than diesel, which can increase the operating temperature of the engine. When the oil is contaminated or degraded, its ability to manage heat is reduced, potentially leading to overheating(generator overheating causes and solutions). Frequent oil changes help maintain optimal heat management.

5) Monitoring engine wear: While kerosene can be used in diesel generators short term, consistent use may potentially damage them. 

Remember, using kerosene in your diesel generator should be considered a temporary solution. For optimal performance and longevity, it’s best to use the fuel recommended by BISON generator’s manufacturer.

Safety precautions when using kerosene in a diesel generator

Kerosene is a flammable liquid, so it is important to take safety precautions when using it. Be sure to store kerosene in a safe location and avoid handling it near open flames.

Troubleshooting tips for running a diesel generator on kerosene

  1. Check the fuel filter to make sure it is not clogged.
  2. Clean the fuel injectors.
  3. Try a different brand of kerosene.


Kerosene is a fuel that can be used to run a diesel generator. While this is not recommended, it is possible. Check the BISON diesel generator manufacturer in China recommendations before using kerosene in a diesel generator.

Your inquiry regarding the use of kerosene to power a generator has been sufficiently addressed, along with numerous related topics. I trust that you will find this article beneficial.

Kerosene run diesel generator, People also ask

We must ensure the same properties as we plan to replace diesel fuel with kerosene.

This will help to avoid unwanted problems like power loss, injector damage etc.

These simple modifications are enough to ensure flawless generator performance. Kerosene also performs better than diesel in winter.

But you should keep in mind that some brands of generators may void the warranty if you use kerosene.

In fact, because heating oil and diesel fuel share common properties, they can be used as a substitute for diesel fuel. However, diesel fuel has additives that improve fuel efficiency. Conversely, heating oil is not best suited for engine use because it is unrefined and carries contaminants.

A range of fuels such as gasoline, diesel, propane, and natural gas can be used to power generators. While smaller engines typically use gasoline, larger ones have the flexibility to operate on diesel, natural gas, or propane. Some generators are dual-fuel, running on either gas or propane, while tri-fuel models can operate on any of the three aforementioned fuel types.

contact us

Please complete our contact form and we will soon get back to you with expert advice.


Get in touch to speak with our experts!


How To Change Generator Spark Plug?

Replacing your spark plugs will improve your engine’s efficiency and extend its life. This article will show you how to replace a worn spark plug step by step.


how to secure a generator while camping?

Generators in your campsite or RV can be secured with cables, chains, alarms, and bolt-on mounts. You can mount the generator to a unique rack, trailer hitch, or bracket on your trailer or truck bed.

enquire today

Speak with our sales manager today for additional information or an obligation-free quote.