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I Want to Understand Tractor Fuel Types

We want to help you understand all the various tractor fuel types.

Let’s go through each of them.


Diesel fuel first appeared in large agricultural crawlers in the 1930s.

It became a major fuel source for farm tractors in the 1950s.

Early diesel engines were difficult to start, so they were used sparingly.

Some manufacturers built spark-ignition diesel engines. Others built engines that started on gasoline and were switched over to diesel. And then some built small gasoline "pony motors" to warm and start the diesel main engine.

By 1960, diesel engines had greatly improved and started becoming popular for large farm tractors.

By the 1970s, nearly all farm tractors started using diesel engines.


In the early part of the 20th century, Kerosene was commonly used as tractor fuel.

Like tractor-fuel, it was used in "all fuel" engines after the engine had warmed enough to allow efficient combustion of the kerosene.

Cheaper gasoline after World War II, plus the emergence of diesel engines, caused kerosene to disappear as tractor fuel.