As you prepare your fleet for winter, keep in mind that the proper maintenance of your diesel fuel storage tanks and vehicle fuel tanks is an essential part of achieving a trouble-free, lower-cost winter operation. Most diesel fuel in the U.S. is now Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD) and, while ULSD’s lower sulfur content improves our air quality, it also presents some special challenges that need to be addressed when winterizing your fuel to avoid fuel-related problems:
- Previously, sulfur acted as a natural biocide for fuel. Additional micro-biological (bacterial) growth can plug fuel filters and cause corrosion. Since ULSD contains no more than 15 ppm of sulfur, your diesel storage tanks should be pre-treated with a biocide to guard against bacterial growth.
- Since moisture in ULSD can cause icing of fuel filters as temperatures drop, it is very important that you remove existing water in your fuel storage tanks by treating it with water dispersant
- As temperatures get colder, ULSD’s chemical priorities result in the formation of wax (paraffin) in the fuel and treating it with a pour point depressant and a de-icer will help to prevent problems and prolong the life of your fuel filters.
Here are some preventive measures to improve the operation of diesel powered vehicles in winter conditions:
- Remove any water in diesel storage tanks prior to the onset of cold weather
- Treat diesel storage tanks with a biocide
- Treat fuel deliveries with a water dispersant
- Treat fuel deliveries with a pour point depressant and de-icer