Distillate was a regional, petroleum derived fuel which could be used in tractors.
I watch antique tractor TV shows and every so often thet'll show a tractor which runs on distillate. My recollection is that there are more than a couple of other regional fuels and some tractors could run on more than one fuel.
Petroleum feedstocks vary considerably in chemical composition and even in appearance. Each refinery is set up to use a specific feed stock.
I worked with coatings for most of my career and found a lot of local regional solvents of similar compositions (and drying times) referenced in trade literature. Petroleum ether, liqroin, Stoddard solvent, Skellysolve ......What would dissolve in one might not dissolve in another. These solvents were mixtures of hydrocarbons (less expensive than pure hydrocarbons) which was dependant on both the crude oil and way the refinery was set up.
These differences in refinery products were also evident in gasoline. A car that runs well on gasoline from one refinery might not run so well on gasoline from another refinery. Texaco used this fact in their advertising. Their gas was uniform in each of the 48 states.
I've always thought that multidome general service tank cars were used for specialty loads like lube oils. After all, an 8000 gallon tank car holds 800 - 10 gallon fills, not very much for a dealer (consider their profit in the stream era).
I wonder if multidone weren't used to supply small dealers with less common petroleum products like distillate? Anyone seen an evidence (photos or car lists) that multidome tank cars were delivered to small dealers?
On the topic of petroleum products just about everywhere I've lived finished petroleum products have been and are delivered by water. Were tank cars ever loaded at waterside terminals?