What Fuel Types Can Generators Use?

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Generators can typically use one or multiple of the following fuel types:

  • Gasoline
  • Propane
  • Natural gas
  • Diesel

You often have to choose specific generators based on your fuel type preferences.

Dual fuel and tri fuel generators are the exceptions. These machines can use multiple fuel types.

For example, tri fuel generators can typically use gasoline, propane, and natural gas.

What kind of fuel do you use for a generator?

You typically use gasoline for a portable generator but there are machines that use diesel, propane, or natural gas too.

Standby generators typically use natural gas but there are propane and diesel standby generators too.

You have to choose your type of generator before investing in a machine. After that, you can only use the fuel types that are compatible with your generator.

Can generators use gasoline?

Yes, portable generators can often use gasoline aka petrol.

However, there are also certain portable generators that can not use gasoline.

Additionally, standby generators do typically not use gasoline.

What type of gas do most generators use?

Most portable generators use regular unleaded gasoline with a minimum octane rating of 87 and an ethanol content of 10% or less.

Using the wrong gasoline will not only void your warranty but can also damage your generator.

Where to buy gas for your generator?

You can buy gas for your generator at most local gas stations. It is still important to check whether these have the right fuel type for your generator.

Can generators run on propane?

Yes, there are generators that can run on propane. You should easily find both portable and standby generators that can run on this fuel type.

At the same time, you want to keep in mind that not all generators can run on propane.

Make sure you choose a propane-compatible generator if you decide this is the best generator fuel type for your situation.

Additionally, you can choose dual fuel or tri fuel generators if you want to be able to choose other fuel types too.

Can generators run on natural gas?

Yes, there are generators that can run on natural gas. Especially standby generators can often use this fuel type.

Natural gas is not as popular for portable generators although there are still models that can use this fuel.

In simpler words, choose the right generator if you want to be able to use natural gas to produce electricity.

Can generators use diesel?

Yes, there are generators that can use diesel. Especially industrial-sized generators are often able to run on diesel.

There are some smaller portable and standby diesel generators but these are less common.


What is the alternative to gasoline in a generator?

The alternatives to gasoline in a generator are propane, natural gas, and diesel.

You do need to check whether your generator can run on these fuel types. This is often not the case for portable generators.

Can you use 87 gas in a generator?

Yes, you can typically use 87 octane gas in a gasoline-compatible generator.

Can you use 93 octane in a generator?

Yes, you can typically use 93 octane gas in a gasoline-compatible generator.

Most portable generator brands specify you can use unleaded gasoline with an octane rating of 87 or higher (and an ethanol content of 10% or less). That means 93 octane gasoline typically works too.

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Mats is the founder and head editor of Generator Decision. With a combination of critical thinking, tireless research, and a healthy interest in electronics he helps people find the right generators and how to use these. At this point in the journey, Mats has done research on hundreds of portable generators.