Why do some combustion vehicles only run on a specific type of fuel?


To my knowledge combustion is just burning fuel and if all you need is fire to burn a fuel shouldn’t any type of fuel work in any type of car?

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Consistency in combustion with regards to tuning. Multiple fuels can be run but in varying volumes, such as e85 vs 93 octane, race fuel etc, but they all need specific tunes and sometimes larger fuel delivery lines/pumps for the quantities required

As an edit, other things can also be an issue for uncommon fuels that may not be stored the same as standard gasoline, or are corrosive to delivery or internal engine parts, things like that which make them unusable for internal combustion engines

Engines are designed to ignite at a specific point in the engine. If they ignite at the wrong point, then that could damage the engine. That’s why you need the minimum octane level rated for gas engines

Diesel fuel also ruins fuel pumps inside a gas engine due to being much thicker than gasoline is and gasoline ruins diesel engines due to igniting too early

its about efficiency there have been engines that can run on any fuel and modern diesels could be made to run on things like fry oil. Its just better to optimize the engine for a specific type of fuel that way you can get much better performance, fuel economy, and better emissions. But engines are all about timing so in order to accommodate more types of fuels you need to basically make an engine that runs like crap but runs like crap on any type of fuel. this is for piston engines btw turbine engines, striling engines, or steam, can be powered by all sorts of things but they make terrible car engines.

Nope. Gasoline is way too volatile and explosive for the high compression of a diesel engine. This can also be an issue if the octane rating of the gasoline is too low.

Diesel is not even flammable and is way too **un**volatile to even ignite in the low compression of a gasoline engine.

Ethanol contains much less energy than either of the above, and you need to inject about 50% more of it or it simply won’t burn. It is also chemically different from gasoline and gasoline, and therefore unless the engine is adapted to it there are lots of components that may dissolve and be ruined. This mainly affects rubber in stuff like O rings and gaskets.

Your argument is that they all burn so all fuels should work in all engines. You’re not entirely wrong. An engine that *could* handle any combination of these fuels could certainly be created. The problem is that it would *suck*. All car engines have unfathomable amounts of engineering and research behind them. A modern car engine is pushed as close to the edge as possible to squeeze out every last bit of efficiency, power and emissions compliance. There simply isn’t room to allow for the margins that would be needed to make it fuel universal.