Halloween GMC truck

Trick or fleet: Unmasking premium fuel

Oct. 29, 2018
When it comes to premium fuel, it’s truly “go big or go home.” Don’t get tricked by shortcuts.

Fleet owners have plenty of tricks for improving their efficiency. This Halloween, one of the best ways owners can “creep it real” is by assessing the fuel inside their rigs’ tanks. Premium fuel promises to sweeten both your fuel efficiency and equipment longevity. But not all premium fuels are created equal, so it’s important to know the differences. Lucky for you, our porch light is on.

Premium diesel 101

Premium diesel is considered premium because of the additives package—and it’s as potent as any witch’s brew. In Cenex premium fuel, there are seven additives that work together to keep engines cleaner and increase performance.

  1. Cetane measures a diesel engine’s startability—or how quickly the air and fuel mixture combusts in the engine. Our Cetane improver, with a typical cetane number of47-49, helps with faster starts and reduced strain on engines and electrical systems. More important, a faster start means a quicker getaway from angry zombies.
  1. Aggressive detergents keep fuel systems clean for optimum performance with up to 5 percent better fuel efficiency than a typical #2 diesel fuel.
  1. Lubricity improver contains friction-reducing agents that provide 10 to 15 percent better protection against friction and wear on the fuel pump than typical #2 diesel fuel. No word on their protection against vampires, though.
  1. Demulsifiers force water to the bottom of the fuel tank to separate it from fuel and allow for easy drainage and removal. In a premium fuel, this prevents unwanted moisture from being carried through the fuel system and reduces the volume of water entering the combustion chamber — which could be a real nightmare.
  1. Corrosion inhibitors provide superior corrosion protection, preventing the formation of rust on metal parts. This slows the natural degradation of diesel fuel caused by exposure to oxygen and prevents leaks, blockages and breaks that can be caused by corrosion.
  1. Storage stabilizers reduce gum, varnish and sludge to extend storage life of diesel fuel. This kind of sludge might be great for a swamp man, but it can spell disaster for your operation. Build-up can decrease injector and storage life for diesel fuel.
  1. Injection stabilizers address fuel oxidation problems in new engine technology and also prevent internal diesel injector deposits. This reduces the need for filter and injector replacements and lowers downtime and maintenance costs.

Time to get the party startled this Halloween season. When switching to a premium fuel, owners generally expect to see a return on their investment in the form of less downtime and more efficient engine components. Make no bones about it, tests have shown a 4.5 percent increase in power compared to generic diesel fuel alternatives.

The trick about labels

Owners may assume the premium fuel they’re purchasing has the additives listed above. But what’s scary: This may not be the case. The base fuels and additives used to achieve so-called “premium” status vary widely by supplier.

In some cases, if fuel has just one additive that is above standard level, suppliers may use the premium label. The risk here is that your fleet won’t receive the full benefits of a complete additive package in a true premium diesel. This means owners will most likely not see a full return on their investment and could still face damaging downtime.

Don’t let subpar premium fuel come back to haunt you. Check to make sure the fuel is actually designed specifically to meet the demands of your heavy-duty engines. 

It’s about the blend

One other thing to avoid is over-the-counter additive packages. Many of these offerings simply have solvents that offer very limited benefits. In most instances, these end up costing more than just filling up with a premium alternative. Talk about having a skeleton in the closet!

When it comes to premium fuel, it’s truly “go big or go home.” Don’t get tricked by shortcuts.

Don’t let fuel grades drive you batty. Learn more about Cenex’s premium diesel fuel options, like CENEX ROADMASTER XL® PREMIUM DIESEL and CENEX® WINTERMASTER® PREMIUM DIESEL, at CENEX.COM.

About the Author

Ron Jessen | Director of Product Management and Business Development

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