From the Super Mario Wiki, the Mario encyclopedia
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A Fuel Barrel is an uncommon barrel found in Donkey Kong Country and Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble!
Donkey Kong Country
In Donkey Kong Country, Fuel Barrels only appear in Tanked Up Trouble. They have a critical role of fueling a platform that Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong use throughout the level. The Kongs must quickly jump at every Fuel Barrel they encounter, as the platform's energy drains quickly.
The amount of fuel in the platform is measured in five gauges. Each Fuel Barrel has some red dots indicating how many of the gauges they can refill and, in turn, their usefulness to the Kongs. From a scale from lowest to highest, one red dot fills one gauge while five red dots refill all five gauges.
Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble!
In Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble!, Fuel Barrels only appear in Rocket Rush, and they were redesigned to have a blue paint. Fuel Barrels have as much of a critical role as in Donkey Kong Country, as the Kongs must run into the Fuel Barrels to keep the Rocket Barrel afloat. Fuel Barrels do not often appear in the level, and therefore the Kongs must be cautious to not release too much exhaust fuel.