winter has been one of the worst on record, and with that we have seen an increase
in vehicle fuel gelling. Of course the extreme cold we’ve been
experiencing is one of the causes, but the introduction of ULSD appears to
be another piece of the puzzle. The Wall Street Journal article below
confirms many of our suspicions relating to the new fuel.
A main point of the article is that EPA officials stress that there’s nothing wrong with the fuel, but it may have to be treated with special additives or “electric engine warmers.” MWFI recommends the use of a fuel additive to lower pour point and reduce cloud point (e.g., Stanadyne Performance Formula data shows that it can lower pour point by as much as 40 degrees and reduce cloud point by as much as 25 degrees), and a fuel heater, such as part number 26309KIT, to raise the temperature of the fuel above its cloud point.
In October, the Bush
administration required diesel users, including buses and trucks, to
begin switching to ultralow-sulfur fuel to reduce air pollution. The
new diesel has 15 parts per million of sulfur, compared with about
500 parts per million for the diesel it's replacing.
The problem comes
during the refining process used to attain the ultralow-sulfur
ratio. That affects the naturally occurring wax in diesel in such a
way that it can cause the fuel to turn from liquid to gel more
readily in cold temperatures. Gelled fuel clogs the fuel filters and
starves the engine, causing it to stop.
Protection Agency officials say there is nothing wrong with the
fuel. But it may have to be treated with special additives. Or
engine warmers -- equipment that keeps the engine warm, usually
using electricity -- may have to be used, they said.
Margo Oge, director
of the EPA's office of transportation and air quality, said all
diesel fuels gel in subzero temperatures. Both refiners and users
have been adding kerosene or other additives to diesel fuel for
decades in such weather to prevent it from thickening. "The
only difference is when you add kerosene now, it must be ultralow-sulfur
diesel kerosene," Ms. Oge said.
The ultralow diesel
rollout is the biggest change to fuel standards since the country
began removing lead from gasoline in the 1970s. Ms. Oge said that
while the changeover is going smoothly, part of the problem appears
to be confusion over the additives. Some school authorities said
they weren't clear that special additives or ultraclean kerosene had
to be added. Ms. Oge also said some of the refiners may not have
used the proper mix of additives or ultraclean kerosene in fuel
provided to the school systems.
transportation director for