Eli5: Why is it safe to cook food over propane but poisonous if cooking over gasoline/diesel etc…


Eli5: Why is it safe to cook food over propane but poisonous if cooking over gasoline/diesel etc…

In: 5

Gasoline and diesel produce soot and harmful combustion byproducts that can be transferred to foods and are harmful when consumed.

Propane burns relatively cleanly, releasing mainly greenhouse gases like CO2 with only minimal amounts of soot that don’t pose the same hazard.

Propane is basically a pure substance made of a single hydrocarbon that converts into carbon dioxide and water when it combusts.

Gasoline contains hundreds of different hydrocarbons and chemicals that combust to form any number of other kinds of chemicals to include carbon monoxide and other harmful things.

Also, I’ve never seen a gasoline tank that will dispense gasoline in the same way that propane is dispensed for a cooking stove so there is the safety issue of how you get a controlled gasoline fire to begin with.

What in the USA is called “white gas” was once the primary fuel for camping stoves. Kerosene (paraffin) was once common for household lighting and was/is used for cooking also.

White gas is not that different from gasoline. One of the big differences is that white gas doesn’t have all the additives used in automotive gasoline. A big reason gasoline wasn’t recommended for cooking in the past was that it had lead added to it.

Kerosene (paraffin) is a close relative of diesel. But kerosene dose tend to burn cleaner than diesel.

White gas, gasoline, and kerosene (paraffin) all burn clean when used in a stove designed to use them. I think you will be hard put to find any study that shows they are more harmful than propane (as long as you are not burning leaded gasoline which is still available in places).

Even today, MSR still sells a hiking stove that can burn white gas, kerosene, and unleaded auto fuel: