What is reefer fuel used for?

In this blog post, we will answer the question: “What is reefer fuel used for?” We will discuss the cost and uses of reefer fuel. We will also talk about the difference between reefer fuel and diesel. We will discuss the best reefer fuel brands and the steps to refill a reefer trailer. Additionally, we will talk about the disadvantage of using reefer fuel for your truck.

What is reefer fuel used for?

Reefer fuel is used mainly for refrigeration trucks. Reefer fuel is a special kind of diesel that can only be used for powering equipment or refrigeration trucks. This fuel is not permitted for transportation in cars and other common vehicles. Refrigeration trucks use reefer fuel only for the refrigeration part and normal fuel is used to power the engine.

Reefer fuel cost and uses

The cost of reefer fuel can vary according to the region you live in. In the US, each state has its price for reefer fuel. Reefer fuel is just like gasoline and diesel with fluctuating prices in each region. At present, reefer fuel cost $2.97 per mile. In California, reefer fuel is priced at $2.90 and it can increase or decrease according to the demand and consumption.

  • Since this fuel is used for refrigeration trucks and work sites. The cost of reefer fuel is lesser than diesel. You can also use reefer fuel at home if you are constructing or making any changes.
  • Most people use reefer fuel for construction or agricultural purposes. Illegal use of reefer fuel can attract a fine of up to $10,000. Reefer fuel appears red to detect illegal usage. This fuel is marked with red dye in the US and can only be used off-road.
  • Remember that reefer fuel is only meant to be used in off-road situations when powerful a vehicle. Using reefer fuel for your car or truck can be illegal.
  • In some cases, authorities can check for vehicles using reefer fuel. Since reefer fuel is not taxed like regular fuel, the price is a lot cheaper.
  • Refrigeration trucks are also known as reefer trucks. These trucks can consume close to 3/4 of a gallon of reefer fuel per hour. 
  • A 50-gallon reefer tank might last for three to four days. However, it depends on other factors like freight requirements, etc. On average, a reefer truck will consume close to five gallons per hour.

Differences between reefer fuel and diesel

  • Many people think that reefer fuel is similar to diesel. While both have similar compositions of chemicals, they are still different in many ways


  • The first and most common difference is that the runtime between reefer fuel and diesel is not the same.
  • Gasoline and diesel can be taxed, but reefer fuel is not taxed. However, reefer fuel is subjected to a federal refund each year.
  • Unlike diesel, reefer fuel can only be used on private property. Hence, the reason for the red dye to differentiate between the two.
  • Reefer fuel can only be used to keep refrigeration in reefer vehicles. It cannot be used for other purposes or highway machines.
  • Refrigeration vehicles use reefer fuel to transport, store, and distributed commodities that need to be temperature controlled. These trucks are mainly used to transport food and related items to restaurants and food chains.
  • A reefer truck will have a separate reefer tank for reefer fuel and the usual diesel tank to run the vehicle. Reefer tanks usually have a capacity of 80 to 100 gallons. This is required for long-distance travel and shipping requirements.
  • For local and short-distance transportation, most reefer tanks have a 50-gallon capacity.

Best reefer fuel brands

Many reefer fuel brands are available in the market. Most refrigeration trucks consume various reefer fuel brands, but there are the best and most well-known reefer fuel brands described below.

Thermo King

  • Thermo King is one of the best reefer fuel brands that has been in the market for a long time. Thermo King is also considered more reliable than most of the other brands. Many consumers have stated that Thermo King uses less fuel when compared to all the other brands.
  • Thermo King is dedicated to providing sustainable transport temperature-control solutions. Thermo King is one of the top reefer fuel brands that is widely used today.

Foster fuels

  • Foster fuels are one of the other recognized reefer fuel brands in the US. Foster fuels have an extensive nationwide network that supplies reefer fuel from coast-to-coast.
  • Foster fuel has a guaranteed 24/7 response rate and they have millions of gallons of fuel consumed across the US.

Steps to refill a reefer trailer

Reefer trailers need reefer fuel regularly and there are hundreds of fuel stations that provide reefer fuel. Just be sure to get to the right fuel station and double-check before refiling your trailer with reefer fuel. Here are a few steps to refill a reefer trailer with reefer fuel.

Get to a reefer fuel station

  • Many fuel stations might come your way, but the most important part is to get to a reefer fuel station. A reefer fuel might have sign boards showing that they have reefer fuel. Be sure to ask around and check with the station if they sell reefer fuel.

Locate the tank

  • The next step is to locate the reefer fuel tank. In most reefer vehicles, the fuel tank is located at the front. Once you find the reefer tank, be sure to unscrew the cap carefully and insert the nozzle to get your fuel refilled.

Select reefer fuel

  • The tricky part is selecting reefer fuel at the fuel station. Feel free to get some help to ensure that you select reefer fuel and not anything else. 
  • You will then need to swipe your card at the terminal and start refilling the tank. Be sure to replace the nozzle once you have the tank refilled.

Check the level

  • While refilling, it is important to check the level of the tank. Check the gauges to alert you of the tank level if you are unsure.
  • Another method is to open the cap and look inside but take precautions while doing this.

Disadvantages of using reefer fuel for your truck

  • It is not recommended to use reefer fuel for your truck at any given time. Although reefer fuel is just like diesel fuel, it might not go well with your diesel engine. There might be damage caused to the engine and it will not function properly.
  • On the other hand, you land the risk of paying a hefty fine when you use reefer fuel in a truck. If you are caught for an inspection, you can be in serious trouble since it is illegal.
  • Reefer fuel is typically used for refrigeration and it is mainly used to power cold trailers. Reefer fuel can power your diesel engine but most people avoid using this fuel for their vehicles.
  • Reefer fuel can also have a higher sulfur content when compared to the normal green diesel fuel. Be sure to use the right fuel for your vehicle.

It is also important to remember that reefer fuel is built to keep reefers cold. The refrigeration units pump cold air to keep all the products cool. Hence, a reefer vehicle is designed to maintain the temperature. All reefer vehicles have insulation to maintain the temperature. There are various types of insulation that are used for thermal resistance.

A reefer vehicle is also constructed differently to use reefer fuel. These vehicles are used with reinforced fiberglass and it maintains temperatures at all times. It is also designed for air to flow evenly around. There are seals used to reduce car leaks and it also gradually reduces thermal performance.


In this blog post, we have answered the question: “What is reefer fuel used for?” We have discussed the cost and uses of reefer fuel. We have also talked about the difference between reefer fuel and diesel. We have discussed the best reefer fuel brands and the steps to refill a reefer trailer. Additionally, we have talked about the disadvantage of using reefer fuel for your truck.



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