In today’s world, where power outages can strike at any moment, having a reliable backup generator is essential for maintaining critical operations and ensuring uninterrupted power supply. However, choosing the right fuel type for your generator can be a daunting task, with various options available, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the different fuel options for generators, helping you make an informed decision that aligns with your specific needs and requirements.

Gasoline Generators

Gasoline generators are among the most common and widely available options on the market. They are relatively inexpensive, easy to operate, and readily accessible at most gas stations or hardware stores. However, gasoline has a shorter shelf life compared to other fuel types, typically lasting between 6 to 12 months when properly stored. Additionally, gasoline generators tend to produce higher emissions and noise levels, making them less environmentally friendly and potentially disruptive in residential areas.

Pros of Gasoline Generators

  • Affordable and widely available
  • Easy to refuel from local gas stations
  • Suitable for short-term or occasional power needs

Cons of Gasoline Generators

  • Higher emissions and noise levels
  • Shorter fuel shelf life
  • Limited runtime compared to other fuel types

Diesel Generators

Diesel generators are known for their durability, longer runtime, and fuel efficiency. Diesel fuel has a longer shelf life than gasoline, typically lasting up to two years when properly stored. These generators are often used in industrial, commercial, and emergency backup applications where extended runtime and reliability are paramount. However, diesel generators tend to be more expensive than gasoline models and may require additional maintenance and professional installation.

Pros of Diesel Generators

  • Longer runtime and fuel efficiency
  • Increased durability and reliability
  • Lower emissions compared to gasoline generators

Cons of Diesel Generators

  • Higher upfront costs
  • Require professional installation and maintenance
  • Fuel may be less readily available in some areas

Propane Generators

Propane generators offer a clean-burning and environmentally friendly alternative to gasoline or diesel generators. Propane is a readily available fuel source that can be stored indefinitely when properly maintained. These generators are known for their low emissions, quiet operation, and versatility, making them suitable for both residential and commercial applications. However, propane generators tend to have a higher upfront cost and may require specialized refuelling or storage tanks.

Pros of Propane Generators

  • Clean-burning and environmentally friendly
  • Quiet operation and low emissions
  • Indefinite fuel storage life when properly maintained

Cons of Propane Generators

  • Higher upfront costs
  • Require specialized refuelling or storage tanks
  • Limited runtime compared to diesel generators

Natural Gas Generators

Natural gas generators are an attractive option for homeowners and businesses with access to a reliable natural gas supply. These generators offer a clean-burning and efficient fuel source, with low emissions and minimal maintenance requirements. Natural gas generators are typically more expensive upfront but can provide significant long-term cost savings due to the lower fuel costs associated with natural gas. However, they require a dedicated natural gas line and may not be suitable for areas without access to a reliable natural gas supply.

Pros of Natural Gas Generators

  • Clean-burning and efficient fuel source
  • Low emissions and minimal maintenance
  • Potential long-term cost savings due to lower fuel costs

Cons of Natural Gas Generators

  • Require access to a reliable natural gas supply
  • Higher upfront costs
  • Limited portability due to the need for a dedicated gas line

Dual-Fuel Generators

Dual-fuel generators offer the flexibility of operating on either gasoline or propane, providing versatility and redundancy in case one fuel source becomes unavailable. These generators are often used in residential and light commercial applications, where fuel accessibility and runtime are essential considerations. While dual-fuel generators offer added convenience, they may be more expensive than single-fuel models and require additional maintenance and fuel storage considerations.

Pros of Dual-Fuel Generators

  • Versatility and redundancy with two fuel options
  • Suitable for residential and light commercial applications
  • Extended runtime compared to single-fuel models

Cons of Dual-Fuel Generators

  • Higher upfront costs
  • Require additional maintenance and fuel storage considerations
  • Potential compatibility issues with different fuel types

Renewable Energy Generators

As the world shifts towards more sustainable energy solutions, renewable energy generators are gaining traction. These generators can harness power from sources such as solar, wind, or hydroelectric energy, providing a clean and environmentally friendly backup power solution. While renewable energy generators have a higher upfront cost, they offer long-term cost savings and a reduced carbon footprint. However, their availability and efficiency may be dependent on local environmental conditions and resource availability.

Pros of Renewable Energy Generators

  • Clean and environmentally friendly
  • Long-term cost savings
  • Reduced carbon footprint and dependence on fossil fuels

Cons of Renewable Energy Generators

  • Higher upfront costs
  • Availability and efficiency dependent on local environmental conditions
  • Potential integration challenges with existing power systems

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Generator Fuel Type

When selecting the right fuel type for your generator, it’s crucial to consider several factors to ensure optimal performance, reliability, and cost-effectiveness. Here are some key considerations:

  1. Runtime Requirements: Evaluate your anticipated runtime needs during power outages. Diesel and natural gas generators typically offer longer runtimes compared to gasoline or propane models.
  2. Fuel Availability and Storage: Consider the availability and ease of obtaining fuel in your area, as well as the storage requirements and shelf life of each fuel type.
  3. Environmental Impact: If minimizing emissions and reducing your carbon footprint is a priority, consider cleaner fuel options like propane, natural gas, or renewable energy sources.
  4. Noise Levels: Gasoline generators tend to be noisier than other fuel types, which may be a concern in residential areas or noise-sensitive environments.
  5. Maintenance and Operating Costs: Factor in the long-term maintenance and operating costs associated with each fuel type, including fuel costs, service intervals, and potential infrastructure requirements.
  6. Portability and Scalability: If you require a portable or scalable generator solution, consider fuel types that offer ease of transportation and the ability to meet changing power demands.
  7. Regulatory Compliance: Ensure that your chosen fuel type and generator setup comply with local and national regulations, including emissions standards and zoning requirements.


Choosing the right fuel type for your generator is a critical decision that can significantly impact the reliability, performance, and cost-effectiveness of your backup power solution. By carefully considering your specific needs, runtime requirements, fuel availability, environmental impact, and other key factors, you can make an informed choice that aligns with your priorities.

Remember, A&A Genpro, Inc. is a premier Cummins Generator Dealer in Houston, offering a wide range of industrial and commercial generators, we understand the importance of selecting the right fuel type for your generator. Our team of experts is dedicated to providing personalized guidance and support to ensure you make the best decision for your unique requirements. Contact us today to explore your fuel options and find the perfect generator solution for your needs.


     1. Can I switch between different fuel types with the same generator? 

While some generators, such as dual-fuel models, allow you to switch between fuel types, it’s generally not recommended to switch fuel types on a single-fuel generator. Doing so may require significant modifications and could potentially damage the generator or void the warranty.

     2. How often should I refuel my generator during extended power outages? 

The frequency of refuelling will depend on the fuel type, generator size, and power consumption. As a general rule, it’s recommended to refuel when the fuel tank reaches around 25% capacity to avoid running out of fuel during critical periods.

     3. Are there any special storage or handling requirements for different fuel types? 

Yes, each fuel type has specific storage and handling requirements. For example, gasoline has a shorter shelf life and should be stored in approved containers in a well-ventilated area. Propane and natural gas require proper storage tanks and handling procedures to ensure safety.

    4. Can I use a generator indoors if I have proper ventilation? 

No, it’s never safe to operate a generator indoors, regardless of the fuel type or ventilation. Generators produce carbon monoxide, which is an odourless and colourless gas that can be deadly if inhaled. Always operate generators outdoors in a well-ventilated area, away from doors, windows, and vents.

     5. What maintenance is required for different generator fuel types? 

The maintenance requirements can vary depending on the fuel type. Gasoline generators typically require regular oil changes, air filter replacements, and spark plug inspections. Diesel generators may need additional maintenance, such as fuel filter changes and injector cleanings. Propane and natural gas generators generally require less frequent maintenance but may need periodic inspections of the fuel lines and connections. Always refer to the manufacturer’s recommendations for specific maintenance schedules and procedures.