I ran out of oil in my home, and a plumber friend said that I could add diesel from the gas station while I wait for my oil delivery. Is he right?

3 Answers 3


Yes, no2 heating oil is pretty similar to diesel. Just less clean and usually dyed red.

So yes, it's ok to put diesel in your oil tank.


Yeah, it's perfectly fine to put diesel in your oil tank, but for legal/tax reasons, it's not ok to put home heating oil in your diesel engine

  • 1
    Heating oil is dyed red -- if you put it in your vehicle's tank it will bear witness to your tax avoidance for some time afterward.
    – TomG
    Commented Nov 27, 2012 at 1:21

Yes, diesel will work fine in an oil heater.

But don't try to put heating oil in a diesel vehicle.

  1. It's illegal and will get you slapped with a $10k fine if you get caught.

  2. Heating oil has a horrible cetane rating (in addition to lack of detergents and poor lubrication properties, and possibly higher sulfur content) and will make your engine run horribly and may damage it.

  • This answer is now obsolete almost everywhere, as most states have enacted laws requiring heating oil to be held to the same sulfur content standards as on-road diesel fuel. The sole remaining differences are, chiefly, the rate at which each is taxed, and the color of the dye added to them, which is used to identify which is which. They're both diesel. Because the tax hasn't been paid on it, putting heating oil in a vehicle or farm equipment is illegal. Putting on-road diesel into your home heating oil tank is perfectly fine because it's the same petroleum distillate. It just might be pricier. Commented Nov 14, 2018 at 19:30

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