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Classic Engines, Modern Fuel

Comments on Topic: What is kerosene

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Submitted by Anonymous


I have difficulties to identify what is the name of Kerosene in France.

1) "Kerdane" : sold in 1l plastic bottle around 5euros/bottle. It is used for degreasing, cleaning parts.

2) "Pétrole lampant", for lighting, usaually in 1 plastic bottle around. 5 euros / litre also. Too high ratio of Benzene component for stoves.

3) "CLAM", for stove, low benzene ratio. in 20 l plastic bottle, around 1.5 euro / litre.

In France the word "Kerosene" is only used for aircraft.

Can you help ?

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Submitted by The Author


The problem is that there is no formal definition for Kerosene. With a boiling point between about 150 and 300 °C (300–575 °F), kerosene is considered to be one of the so-called middle distillates of crude oil. In England it is referred to as Paraffin or 28 second heating oil. As you say Kerosene is used in aeroplanes. The different names refer to different levels of purification.

My understanding is that what is called petrol in England, and gasoline in the US, is called "essence" in France. The word "Pétrole" in France is a term used by the average person to describe the range of liquids generally describe as "Paraffin”. Pétrole lampant is basically for paraffin lamps.

Kerosene has quite a strong smell so Kerdane appears to be a deodorised or de-sulphured pétrole or lamp oil. The word Kerdane may also be a trade name. CLAM « combustible liquide pour appareil de chauffage mobile » or liquid fuel for mobile heaters is deodourised parafin.

You may find these links helpful:

I understand that in France hardware shops sell a range of different liquids including white spirit and deodourised white sprit, kerdane, pétrole etc. in 1 litre and five litre containers.

However, I would urge care. In the UK and I would assume it is the same in France, it is illegal to use fuel on which excise duty has not been paid in a road going vehicle. In the UK I contacted the Government department that taxes fuel and told them that "in classic vehicles kerosene is proven to reduce emissions". They granted a dispensation to all vehicles built before 1956 that allows them to add kerosene legally.

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