What is white kerosene?

Updated March 23, 2017

White, or clear, kerosene is a form of undyed kerosene. Kerosene is a fuel used in space heaters and some types of furnaces.


Red kerosene is kerosene dyed red. In 1997, the Taxpayer Relief Act, changed rules regarding the retail sale of kerosene. This rule changed kerosene to be a taxable type of fuel, similar to diesel fuel. Red kerosene is a type of fuel the IRS deemed non-taxable, whereas white kerosene is taxable just like gasoline. White kerosene is still available, however many retailers choose not to carry it because it is confusing for customers. Because of the taxes, white kerosense is much more expensive than red kerosene.


Kerosene comes in two types, or grades. K-1 has sulphur levels below 0.05 per cent% by weight and is used for unvented heaters. K-2 has sulphur levels up to 0.5 per cent by weight and is used for mobile homes with vented furnaces.


Kerosene is typically used for heating units, such as space heaters. Space heaters should always use K-1 kerosene, white or red, to promote proper safety.

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Jennifer VanBaren started her professional online writing career in 2010. She taught college-level accounting, math and business classes for five years. Her writing highlights include publishing articles about music, business, gardening and home organization. She holds a Bachelor of Science in accounting and finance from St. Joseph's College in Rensselaer, Ind.