A gallon of diesel fuel weighs 7.1089 pounds. There are several different industrial fields that benefit from knowing the exact weight of diesel fuel. Diesel engines are more efficient than gasoline engines. While gasoline engines operate at 20% efficiency, diesel engines can double that at over 40%. This is why the majority of commercial freight trucks are powered by diesel fuel. For this reason, it is important that the basic qualities of diesel be understood – especially to know how much does a gallon of diesel weigh.
The Importance of Diesel’s Weight
As mentioned, a gallon of diesel fuel weighs 7.1089 pounds. There are several different industrial fields that benefit from knowing the exact weight of diesel fuel.
Commercial truck drivers need to know the weight of a gallon of diesel. Commercial vehicles can carry hundreds of gallons in fuel tanks.
While the average capacity ranges from 125 to 300 gallons, trucks can be fitted with even larger tanks. In addition, refrigerated trailers require another 50 to 75 gallons of fuel to power their cooling systems. This means a large truck may carry close to 500 gallons of diesel.
This extra weight must be taken into consideration to operate the vehicle safely and legally. The legal weight limit for commercial trucking is 80,000 lbs. Yet, it is easy for inexperienced truck drivers to overload their trucks because they did not calculate their fuel weight.
While commercial trucks operate on hundreds of gallons of diesel fuel, ocean-going vessels require tens of thousands of gallons each day.
A 1,100 foot long ship needs up to two million gallons of fuel for a cruise. When a ship’s marine engineer knows the weight of the diesel his ship receives, he can load the fuel in such a way that keeps the ship at an optimum trim. This helps the ship to remain stable even in stormy weather and heavy seas.
Another field that benefits from knowing the weight of diesel fuel is the storage tank industry. Several facilities across the nation serve as storage facilities for refined fuel and oil, with the largest located in Cushing, Oklahoma.
That community is known as the “pipeline crossroads of the world” and stores 82 million barrels of oil. One vital quality of such facilities is their ability to contain these materials without costly leaks or dangerous spills.
The importance of storage facility safety was underscored on January 14, 1919, when the United States experienced its worst catastrophic storage failure in Boston, Massachusetts. A large tank measuring 50 feet in height and 90 feet in diameter failed that day, sending its contents of 2.3 million gallons of molasses raging through the streets of North Boston in a 25 foot high wave that traveled at 35 miles an hour. The tank collapse killed 21 people and injured 150 others.
Knowledge of the weight of the particular fuel being stored is essential to ensure that tanks are manufactured to the correct specifications. This is why fuel storage professionals must know the weight of diesel, in order to construct tanks strong enough to withstand the pressure exerted by the stored fuel.
Influences on Diesel’s Weight
There are some influences that can alter the weight of a gallon of diesel.
First, since the specific gravity of diesel fuel may vary from 0.82 to 0.90, the weight can range from 6.85 lbs to 7.5 lbs.
Second, the type of blend will influence the weight. There are over eight different blends of diesel fuel, which ranges from 7.0 lbs to 7.5 lbs per gallon.
Finally, the weather may change the weight of the fuel. In warm weather, a gallon of diesel may weigh as little as 6.9 lbs. In cold weather, the same gallon may weigh up to 7.4 lbs.