Some will remember the Oldsmobile commercial with the tag line "It's not your father's Oldsmobile."
Today, the same can be said about diesel fuel. Diesel fuel is dramatically different than it was 60 years ago, when it started being widely used in vehicles and agricultural equipment.
In those days, diesel fuel was generally considered a byproduct of refining gasoline out of crude oil.
However, the demand for diesel as a transportation fuel has become increasingly significant. Not only has the demand changed, but the quality of the diesel fuel required for today's engines is much different.
Emissions and fuel economy are two of many reasons why diesel fuel and engines have evolved. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires that newer engines meet increasingly tighter emission levels. At the same time, operators demand better fuel economy to help control their costs.
To add to the complexity, EPA’s Renewable Fuel Standard 2 (RFS2) mandates higher usage of biofuels. The changes we see in diesel fuel are designed to help engines meet emission requirements while also working with new technologies that improve fuel economy.
All of this means that managing the quality of the fuel that goes into vehicles and equipment is essential. Fuel quality management begins with purchasing a premium diesel fuel that contains a multifunctional additive package formulated to solve many of the problems associated with basic, No. 2 diesel fuel.
Advanced chemistry improves lubricity to protect fuel pumps and injectors, while other additives prevent corrosion in tanks and fuel lines. Premium diesel also contains components that prevent problems associated with moisture, which can infiltrate fuel from condensation or poor handling practices.
Also, detergents keep injectors clean to optimize combustion for maximum power, greater fuel efficiency, and lower emissions.
Maintaining high-quality fuel starts even before your supplier delivers it. Storage tanks should be cleaned of moisture or sediment that may have occurred over time. It’s important to check transfer tanks, too.
Installing new filters with the correct specifications also can help ensure fuel quality while maximizing fuel flow rates.
There is a lot to remember, but your local FS energy specialist has the knowledge and experience to make sure your fuel is clean and keep your equipment and vehicles operating at their best.
Joe Kirkpatrick is GROWMARK’s refined and renewable fuels sales manager. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org