An improved hydrocarbon-based compression ignition fuel boils in the naphtha boiling range and comprises hydrocarbons having from 5 to about 14 carbon atoms, preferably predominantly normal paraffins having chain lengths from 6 to about 12 carbons. The fuel has an average cetane number ranging from 40 to 80 and a Reid vapor pressure of at least 2 psig to ensure safety in handling and storage. Pentane and/or oxygenated hydrocarbons such as dimethoxymethane can be added to reduce emissions and provide sufficient vapor pressure for safe handling and storage.
 The United States Government has rights in this invention under Contract No. DE-AC36-99GO-10337 between the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL, operated for the U.S. Department of Energy by Midwest Research Institute).