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Considering the Value of a Seasonal Fuel Additive.

Durell Cotton with Wallis Companies

We trust that the product we fuel our vehicles and equipment with is naturally resilient enough to withstand the daily elements and temperatures we encounter; but over time, this confidence could cost us some of our most precious resources; time and money.

In reality, the temperature specifications of most finished product we’re fueling the vehicles that move our products and people, unfortunately don’t inherently live up to our expectations. Fuel gelling, waxing, and fuel line freeze-ups are the enemy of productivity. Changes in the refining process of middle distillates to make ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel have resulted in chemical changes that can significantly impact the fuel’s low temperature operability. These chemical changes cause an increase in the amount of total wax (n-paraffins) and wax-to-wax ratios present in the fuel. These wax particles become more concentrated and harder to disperse. As the temperature of the ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel drops, the concentrated wax molecules can begin to rapidly precipitate out of the fuel and form large flat or irregular crystals that can quickly plug fuel lines and filters.

Today’s diesel powered vehicles feature low emission engines that are more susceptible than ever to diesel fuel related wear. Diesel engine designs are employing the use of higher fuel injection pressures, hotter fuel return temperatures, higher operating temperatures and complex engine geometry to control emissions. All of these factors result in increased fuel system wear and can shorten engine life.

The mandate of the United States EPA to reduce the sulfur content of diesel fuels to control emissions has resulted in the elimination of certain naturally occurring, polar compounds that protect the fuel system from wear by forming a protective layer on the metal surfaces of the fuel injection system.  The increased use of the hydro-treating and hydrocracking refining processes to produce the maximum 15 ppm ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel causes these naturally occurring polar compounds to become either chemically altered or completely removed which leads to increased engine and fuel system wear.

With these considerations, it’s an imperative for any business with any reasonable level of operational dependency on diesel engines to partner with the right 3rd party winter/summer diesel treatment additive provider.

These specialized additives not only prevent fuel gelling, waxing, and fuel line freeze-ups, in addition, marked improvements in fuel efficiency, increased power, increased fuel lubricity, improved injector cleanliness and improved fuel stability have been recognized.

Preventative measures such as these are unquestionably an additional budgetary expenditure to consider, but neglecting and failing to protect your equipment against the limitations of your fuel products could potentially cost more in the long run.