Charcoal Lighter Fluid as Engine Fuel in a Gas Engine


Charcoal Lighter Fluid as Engine Fuel in a Gas Engine

(Image: Screenshot from charcoal lighter fluid as engine fuel video)

So you’re stuck someplace without gasoline, maybe because your spare gas can sprung a leak. But you happen to have some charcoal lighter fluid. Will your engine run on it?

That’s what our ol’ buddy at Project Farm finds out in this video, in which he puts charcoal lighter fluid to the test in several different gasoline engines, including a lawnmower, a go-cart, an engine with a see-through cylinder head, a small rotary engine, and a fuel-injected generator.

In case you didn’t know, charcoal starter, a.k.a. charcoal lighter fluid, is essentially mineral spirits… which is pretty much paint thinner. At least, every jug I have ever bought has been mineral spirits; I hear sometimes it is alcohol-based.

The answer to “Will charcoal lighter fluid run a gas engine?” is “Yes.” This is not surprising to me, because when gasoline was scarce my grandfather used to run his old car on mineral spirits after getting it started using a bit of gasoline. This allowed him to get around so he could make a living building houses when gasoline was rationed during World War 2.

Back to the video, we find out that every engine he tested would run on charcoal lighter fluid, and some of them ran pretty well, but prolonged running on this fuel is probably not a good idea due to increased pinging as well as considerable carbon buildup inside the engine (and naturally on the spark plug).

As always, please enjoy the video and stay safe out there.

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Editor & Contributing Writer Russ Chastain is a lifelong hunter and shooter who has spent his life learning about hunting, shooting, guns, ammunition, gunsmithing, reloading, and bullet casting. He started toting his own gun in the woods at age nine and he's pursued deer with rifles since 1982, so his hunting knowledge has been growing for more than three and a half decades. His desire and ability to share this knowledge with others has also grown, and Russ has been professionally writing and editing original hunting & shooting content since 1998. Russ Chastain has a passion for sharing accurate, honest, interesting hunting & shooting knowledge and stories with people of all skill levels.

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