Caterpillar engines can burn a wide range of fuels. The most preferred by Caterpillar though are distillate fuels. Diesel fuel is a petroleum-derived compound which is heavier then gasoline but lighter then lube oil. The fuel is injected into the compressed, high temperature air of the combustion chamber where it ignites spontaneously.
Fuel is rated by the cetane number of the fuel instead of the octane in gasoline. The cetane number refers to the ignition quality and the cleanliness of the fuel. It depends on the application of the equipment to determine the fuel that you should run though your caterpillar. Caterpillar suggests a cetane number of at least 35. Diesel fuel is not like gasolines in another aspect also, in gas the higher the octane the better off you are, the cleaner and cooler your engine will burn. This is not necessarily true in diesel engines, it all depends where the engine is operating and the load of the engine. .
It is important that your fuel is clean. If fuel is not clean, it can cause many problems inside your engine from having a blocked fuel filter to junking out your whole entire engine. A good way to keep your fuel clean is to watch who you are buying your fuel from. In the U.S. there are a lot of people who buy cheap dirty fuel and sell it for a big profit. They do not care what happens to your rig or equipment. Another way to keep you fuel clean is to do regular maintenance of your machine. Make sure that your fuel filter is clean. Diesel fuel also can be contaminated buy water. In diesel fuel, water is not a good thing. Water can make an engine not run. On diesel engines there is such a thing as a fuel/water separator. It is important to keep them clean and water free.
One bad thing about diesel fuel is that when it gets cold, the fuel crystallizes resulting in the fuel not flowing. Diesel engines in the winter time need to be plugged in to keep the engines warm so they will have easier starting.