amoco ultimate versus coleman fuel

2:16 p.m. on August 11, 2007 (EDT)

We used to use Amoco high test gas in our Coleman products. Now that KMart wants $9.00 a gallon we would like to know if the formula is still the same and is it reasonable to use BP/Amoco High Octane gas still?

2:22 p.m. on August 11, 2007 (EDT)
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Let me ad that I meant that Kmart wants $9 USD for a gallon of Coleman Fuel. I found it for $7.50 at Ace Hardware but I would much prefer getting it at BP/Amoco for under $4 a gallon.

12:44 a.m. on August 12, 2007 (EDT)
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No, Amoco high test is NOT the same as Coleman fuel. For one thing it has a number of additives that are intended to improve engine performance, keep valves clean, reduce emissions (compatability with catalytic converters, among other things), etc etc. These will clog those Coleman products that are not specifically designated for autogas use. For another, autogas tends to be more explosive than Coleman fuel.

You are probably thinking of the days when Amoco made a pure leadfree fuel. Motor fuels in the US and a number of other countries are formulated differently these days, with a number of additives intended for the purposes mentioned above.

There are other brands of stove fuel that are close enough to Coleman fuel, but at a significantly lower price. Stove fuel is a small enough market to make the price higher, thanks to things like packaging it in quart and gallon containers, rather than in bulk like motor fuel.

Chumango, Brian, you guys are the chemical experts. Please comment.

10:52 a.m. on August 13, 2007 (EDT)
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My understanding is that "white gas" is pretty much pure Naptha which can be further refined into high octane gasoline, but I am not a chemical nor petro engineer.

I was under the impression that using motor fuel in a camping stove was a major no no - unless the stove was designed and certified for that particular fuel.

Naptha is available as a solvent - perhaps you can find it in that form for less than Coleman charges.

4:26 p.m. on August 13, 2007 (EDT)

Naptha (white gas or coleman fuel) is a product of refining crude oil into gasoline and other petroleum products. It contains aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons in the 5 - 9 carbon range. Light naptha has 5-7 carbons and heavy naptha 5 - 9 carbons. It is used as the feedstock for further refining into gasoline via the catalytic reforming process. It's sold as white gas.

For comparison purposes with refined gasoline, one of the most important characteristics is the volatility, or vapor pressure associated with each fuel. Naptha and refined low octane gasoline exhibit different vapor pressures, and hence volatilities. Gasoline typically has a vapor pressure between 7.8 - 9.5 psi (70F), naptha will typically have a somewhat lower vapor pressure of around 5 psi (70F). Tge higher grade higher octane gasoline has even higher vapor pressure. As a general rule, the higher the octane level the higher the vapor pressure. That's why regular gas in Denver is 85 octane and in Indianapolis its 87 or 88. There is less atmospheric pressure at 5,280 ft. than at sea level, thus is volatilizes easier.

So from a purly scientific stand point, gasoline will volatilize quicker and more readily than naptha. So if you use it, you should be aware of this. It does have a higher possibility of producing explosion. I believe this isn't an unusualy occurance for people that use it in the old type stoves like the Svea 123.

I have used it in my Optimus 8R and Svea on occassion when I couldn't find naptha, but wouldn't recommend it for regular use. The extra cost for a gallon of lower volatile fuel that may make the difference between a great backpacking or camping trip or having a disaster, is worth the cost in my opinion.

Also, as an earlier person mentioned, there are many additives added to standard gasoline these days that may effect the long-term performance of you stove.

I would suggest you pay the little extra money and purchase the fuel that your stove was engineered to burn. It's cheap insurance.

6:36 p.m. on August 15, 2007 (EDT)
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Coleman white gas is light hydrotreated petroleum naphtha, with very little aromatic content. Quite different from auto fuel.

Personally, I would pay the extra for Coleman (or other brand) white gas instead of using automobile gasoline. Sure, auto fuel can be used in some stoves, but you have to deal with greater volatility, more frequent stove clogging, more fumes, and in some cases the stove seals may be attacked by additives.

I didn't know a gallon of Coleman was $9. I haven't looked in a while, as I have been working off a stash for the last couple of years. Try Wal-Mart, and look for a different brand.

Since I don't get vacation time, my time off is quite expensive (no pay). Because of that, the cost of the little stove fuel I use pales in comparison with the total trip cost. Just another way to look at it.

12:39 p.m. on August 16, 2007 (EDT)
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On a similar note...

As I purchased an MSR Simmerlite yesterday, the sales person tried to sell me some "MSR fuel" (approx $10-11/Qt).

Is there anything about the MSR fuel that makes it "better" than more affordable (and more readily available) Coleman fuel?

7:02 p.m. on August 16, 2007 (EDT)
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The MSR fuel might be a little cleaner, but how much I don't know. I have not had enough problems with Coleman to pay the extra for something else. The one exception was a gallon I bought in Las Vegas 10 years ago - it had a noticeable amount of sulfur in it, and turned the brass fuel filter in my Whisperlite black.

5:25 p.m. on August 18, 2007 (EDT)
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MSR fuel is one of the highest refined fuels available. It burns hotter and cleaner and does not clog stove jets. That's what makes it so expensive. If you have a liquid fuel stove that is not burning very cleanly you can burn the MSR fuel in it and it will clean it out very well.

This info came right from the MSR rep I know.

6:22 p.m. on August 18, 2007 (EDT)
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I also had the wonderful 8R (son now uses it) and now use a Whisperlite. When we consider the amount of fuel we actually use I would go for the highest quality of refinement, though I never have had problems with the old Amoco White or the off brand Wal-Mart stuff in my Colemans. If I'm going for an extended or bad weather trek, I'm taking the best available, of everything. Showing my age but we've been backpacking/sea kayaking for over 30 years.

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