Published: Jan 1948
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Today there are two basic types of tractors in use: the carbureted or Ottocycle type and the diesel. The fuels used in the carbureted type tractor are gasoline, distillate, and kerosine; the fuels used in the diesel are commonly called fuel oil, furnace oil, commercial diesel fuel or just diesel fuel. Most carbureted tractors in this country, at the present time, are operated on gasoline, the balance on distillate. Very little, if any, kerosine is used here. However, foreign operators frequently request kerosine or distillate burning equipment on carbureted engines, and tractors for export are generally so equipped. Most every one is familiar with the extensive use of gasoline in the automobile, truck, bus, airplane, and many other automotive applications; also with the rapidly increasing demand for diesel fuel for diesel powered locomotives, trucks, buses, and industrial equipment of all kinds. When gasoline and diesel fuel are used so extensively in similar applications, why does the tractor industry continue to build distillate burning tractors? There are several factors involved, but the most important one is that of over-all economy. We all know that as long as there is a demand for distillate tractors the industry will produce them. And there will be this demand just as long as the distillate tractor does an equivalent amount of work at a lower over-all cost than either the gasoline or diesel tractor. In the past, distillate tractors were popular because this fuel was plentiful and its cost low. This is not the case today, because with the increased demand for distillate fuels for oil burner and diesel use, there is no surplus and the cost is high. Another factor, and a very important one, is the fact that a good tractor distillate has to be held to a reasonably close specification and consequently there is very little difference in refinery cost between it and gasoline.
Chief Product Development Engineer, International Harvester Company, Chicago, Ill.