As diesel fuel is further refined to meet strict specifications, burn cleaner and reduce pollution, important properties are lost. Diesel fuel additives are designed to fill the void of the removed properties. The optimum quality and performance of diesel fuel can be supplemented, changed, improved, or enhanced depending on the additive used. These specifically formulated diesel additives may be added at the refinery, during distribution, at the terminal, by the marketer or the end-user customer. In whatever manner or way these additives are introduced, they have become essential in restoring some of the fuel’s quality characteristics lost in the refining process, and thereby improving the performance of vehicles and equipment. The following are some of the most commonly types of diesel additives.
Engine Performance Additives– The refining process removes some key properties when it comes to protecting the engine from wear and tear. When added to diesel fuel these additives are designed to extend the life of engine components.
- Lubricants– While the newly mandated Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD) is less polluting, the lower sulfur levels have inadvertently caused the removal of some of the compounds that provide lubricity to the diesel fuel. Lubrication is a necessary component of diesel fuel as it ensures protection against fuel pump and injector wear.
- Cetane Number Improvers– Cetane Number is a measure of the readiness of a fuel to auto-ignite when injected into a diesel engine. Similar to octane boosters in gasoline, these additives influence ease of starting, duration of white smoking after start-up, drivability before warm-up, and intensity of diesel knock at idle.
- Detergents– Diesel fuels, especially those low in sulfur, have a tendency to form carbon deposits on fuel injectors. These deposits can restrict fuel flow, interfere with the fuel spray pattern and give rise to higher smoke levels and decreased fuel economy. Detergent additives dissolve and help prevent carbon deposits from forming.
Low-Temperature Flow and De-Icing Additives– The refining process used to produce ULSD fuel 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. This can lead to plugged up fuel filters, engine stalls and cause potential damage to the fuel system.
- Anti-Gel and De-Icing Additives– Using high quality fuel additives on a regular basis can help prevent icing and gelling and ensure trouble-free operation. These anti-gel and de-icing additives are designed to hinder wax particles from melding together to form larger wax flakes that can clog up the fuel filter. These additives must mix well with the diesel fuel and therefore must be added to ULSD when the fuel is still warm from the storage tanks.
- Winter Blend– In markets that experience severe weather conditions, a special “winter” or “winterized” diesel is sold from December through the end of February. This winter blend is specially formulated and includes additives to prevent the diesel fuel from gelling in cold weather. The drawback of using this winter blend is that it is lower in viscosity, provides less lubrication for the fuel pump and fuel distributor, and is accompanied by a slight drop-off in fuel economy.
Countywide Petroleum Company adds appropriate year-round diesel additives, such as Power Service Products, to provide trouble free winter operation and improve diesel engine performance.