Premium Diesel Fuel: What you should know about diesel fuel before you buy

What constitutes a “premium” diesel fuel? According to the National Council on Weights and Measures, “premium” diesel fuel is defined as a diesel fuel that is enhanced with an additive. The Engine Manufacturers Association also accepts this definition. There are no current enforceable guidelines established for what a premium diesel fuel must contain so a single additive can make diesel fuel “premium”, in fact, adding the dye to make the fuel red can be considered making fuel “premium”. You should be aware of what additive(s) your premium fuel contains and the function of each additive. The following is a list of additives used by fuel suppliers and their main functions:

Detergents are used to keep your fuel system clean from the tank to the injectors. Depending on the amount of detergent additive, your fuels will either keep your fuel system at its current state or, given enough detergent additives, actually clean your fuel system of contaminates.

Cetane. A compression engine, without the benefit of spark, must have self-igniting fuel. Cetane is the measure of ignition delay of the fuel with a higher number indicating a shorter delay, thus a faster start. High cetane results in a quicker start, less smoke and emissions and quicker warm ups.

Lubricity became an issue in 1993 when the industry began producing low sulfur diesel fuel. Lubrication of your fuel pump is necessary to keep your overall maintenance costs and downtime to a minimum. Your fuels should probably contain a lubricating agent, and Soy Methyl Ester appears to be a leading candidate.

Rust and corrosion inhibitor. Dirt, water and other airborne materials cause more problems in diesel fuel than anything else. Good housekeeping can correct and even prevent problems associated with contamination. What can you do? If you have an above ground storage tank, make sure it is tilted towards the bottom drain valves to allow for the removal of water and rust. Make sure you drain and clean your tank at least once a year. Fill your equipment at the end of the day to prevent condensation during the cooler evenings or nights. Wait at least two hours after bulk fuel has been delivered before you fill your equipment tanks. All bulk tanks should have filters installed. Change your filters in the spring and fall. Make sure your nozzles are capped off or covered to keep out contamination.

Demulsifier. Water contamination is one of the most critical problems in diesel fuel. It can lead to filter plugging, corrosion, bacterial growth in the fuel, cold weather operability where fuel ices rather than gelling and serious loss of power. Water gets into the fuel mainly through condensation in the tanks during storage. As fuel warms up and cools down, condensation forms inside the tank. The water then runs down the sides of the tanks into the fuel so your above ground storage tanks should be checked and drained of water once a year or when water is detected.

Injection Stabilizer is designed to keep fuel from coking the high-pressure common rail fuel injection systems that are common on today’s diesel engines.

Storage Stabilizer reduces gum and varnish buildup and contains components to extend the storage life of diesel fuel by 3-6 months. Generally, you should not store fuel for longer than 3 months or so in an above ground storage tank. What happens is the fuel reacts to the oxygen to form gums and varnishes. As the temperature increases, so does this reaction. Any water or rust can accelerate the reaction. Proper amounts of fuel stabilizer will double the fuels storage life.

Fuel Injectors

Less efficient vs. more efficient

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High Pressure Common Rail (HPCR) diesel injection systems are designed to produce more power while reducing emissions due to closer tolerances, improved injection metering, and higher injection pressures. This great technology also comes with its challenges. In HPCR systems extreme high temperatures and pressures can cause a significantly quick breakdown of Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel Fuel (ULSD) fuel into basic carbon (black fuel). Basic carbon fuel can cause premature fuel filter plugging and internal injector deposits. Internal injector deposits occur in HPCR injection systems because of the very tight clearances within the injector. Just a small amount of deposits can lead to sluggish injector operation and lost performance. New diesel detergent technology is required to maximize performance in HPCR injections systems.

Cenex leads the industry in premium diesel fuel, with a proprietary blend that maximizes performance and fuel efficiency, reduces downtime and maintenance costs, extends injector and injector pump life, and provides quicker, smoother starts.

CVA is an authorized Cenex Premium Diesel Fuel Distributor. Contact us today to place an order!