Fuel Properties Notes and Data Sources

Consider these notes and data sources when using the fuel properties comparison tool.

General Notes

  • Values are stated in units most commonly used in the United States.

  • Actual energy content and other properties for specific fuels can vary by region around the country (and the world). They also vary over time as fuel mixes and feedstocks change.

  • State and local departments of weights and measures and tax revenue agencies (including the Internal Revenue Service) may have other values that must be used for official tax calculations or commerce and trade purposes.

  • These tables cite heating values collected and averaged by Argonne National Laboratory for the GREET (Greenhouse Gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy Use in Transportation) model. Other heating values frequently used by the U.S. Department of Energy can be viewed in table B4 of Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Transportation Energy Data Book (TEDB) and tables A1 and A3 in the Energy Information Administration's (EIA) Annual Energy Review (AER). Some of their similarities and differences are highlighted below:

    • Heating values listed in the three sources are in general agreement. The only values that differ more than 2% are GREET vs. EIA liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) as well as GREET vs. TEDB liquefied and compressed natural gas.

    • Both GREET and TEDB average heating values from multiple sources. GREET has 32 sources; TEDB does not list its sources.

    • EIA cites just one source for each heating value, which can be seen in table A6 of EIA's AER 2006.

    • Unlike EIA and TEDB, GREET has a complete set of heating values (both lower and higher) for all fuels listed in this reference.

    • EIA heating values for motor gasoline and LPG weight the average Btu depending on fuel mixture used in a given year, while GREET and TEDB are static.

Specific Notes

[1] Standard Chemical Formulas represent idealized fuels. Some table values are expressed in ranges to represent typical fuel variations that are encountered in the field

[2] The type of meter or dispensing equipment being used to fuel vehicles must be taken into consideration. For fast-fill stations that dispense CNG with Coriolis flow meters, which measure fuel mass and report fuel dispensed on a "gallon of gasoline-equivalent" (GGE) basis, the lbs./GGE factor should be used. For time-fill stations or other applications that use traditional residential and commercial gas meters that measure/register in units of cubic feet, the CF/GGE factor should be used.

[3] E85 is a high-level gasoline-ethanol blend containing 51% to 83% ethanol, depending on geography and season. Ethanol content is lower in the winter months in cold climates to ensure a vehicle starts. Based on composition, E85’s lower heating value varies from 83,950 to 95,450 Btu/gal. This equates to 73% to 835 the heat content of gasoline.

[4] GGE table values reflect BTU range for common gasoline baseline references (E0, E10, and indolene certification fuel).

[5] See Compressed Natural Gas Gasoline & Diesel Gallon Equivalency Methodology at https://afdc.energy.gov/fuels/equivalency_methodology.html.

Sources

(a) R.L. McCormick, Biodiesel Handling and Use Guidelines—Fourth Edition, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, 2009.

(b) American Petroleum Institute (API), Alcohols and Ethers, Publication No. 4261, 3rd ed. (Washington, DC, June 2001), Table 2.

(c) Petroleum Product Surveys: Motor Gasoline, Summer 1986, Winter 1986/1987. National Institute for Petroleum and Energy Research.

(d) K. Owen and T. Coley. 1995. Automotive Fuels Reference Book: Second Edition. Society of Automotive Engineers, Inc. Warrendale, PA.

(e) J. Heywood. 1988. Internal Combustion Engine Fundamentals. McGraw-Hill Inc. New York.

(f) American Petroleum Institute (API), Alcohols and Ethers, Publication No. 4261, 3rd ed. (Washington, DC, June 2001), Table B-1.

(g) Greenhouse Gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy Use in Transportation (GREET) Model, version 1. 2013. Input Fuel Specifications. Argonne National Laboratory. Chicago, IL.

(h) The National Biodiesel Board website reports that "most major engine companies have stated formally that the use of blends up to B20 will not void their parts and workmanship warranties." Accessed 11/15/12 at www.biodiesel.org/using-biodiesel/oem-information

(i) J. Sheehan, V. Camobreco, J. Duffield, M. Graboski, and H. Shapouri. 1998. An Overview of Biodiesel and Petroleum Diesel Life Cycles. Report of National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and US-Department of Energy (DOE).

(j) R.L. McCormick, A. Williams, J. Ireland, M. Brimhall, and R.R. Hayes. 2006. Effects of Biodiesel Blends on Vehicle Emissions. NREL Milestone Report NREL/MP-540-40554.

(k) K. Kelly, L. Eudy, and T. Coburn. 1999. Light-Duty Alternative Fuel Vehicles: Federal Test Procedure Emissions Results. Report of National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), NREL/TP-540-25818.

(l) M. Wang. 2005. Energy and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Impacts of Fuel Ethanol. Presentation to the NGCA Renewable Fuels Forum, August 23, 2005. Argonne National Laboratory. Chicago, IL.

(m) J. Murray, Ben Lane, K. Lillie, and J. McCallum. 2000. An Assessment of the Emissions Performance of Alternative and Conventional Fuels. Report of the Alternative Fuels Group of the Cleaner Vehicles Task Force. Norwich, UK.

(n) Energy Information Administration. Monthly Energy Review. Summary for 2006.

(o) Methanol Institute. Fuel Properties. Accessed 11/14/2012 at www.methanol.org/Energy/Resources/Alternative-Fuel/Alt-Fuel-Properties.aspx

(p) Foss, Michelle. 2012. LNG Safety and Security. Bureau of Economic Geology, Jackson School of Geosciences. University of Texas at Austin.

(q) Report of the 78th National Conference on Weights and measures, 1993, NIST Special Publication 854, pp 322-326

(r) http://www.cleanvehicle.org/committee/technical/PDFs/DGEforCNGandLNGJustificationDocument.pdf