How to prevent gelling of diesel in the winter

10 Dec 2020, Posted by McPherson Oil in Industry Information

Low-temperature diesel performance is among the top concerns of on-road fleets and off-road vehicles. Diesel fuel is impacted by ambient temperatures, so its performance characteristics need to be managed throughout the year to ensure proper equipment and engine operation – especially in cold environments. Why is diesel impacted by low temperatures?

Diesel fuel contains paraffin wax molecules, which means that at low temperatures, the wax precipitates, or separates, from the fuel as wax crystals. In normal diesel at normal temperature, the waxes are happily dissolved in the diesel fuel and burn right along with everything else, thus helping to provide some of the diesel’s energy value. But when it gets cold, the wax becomes undissolved, and the fuel clouds up.  This is the first step – the cloud point – towards the fuel gelling up.

As the temperature falls, these crystals grow and cover the fuel filter surface, which can lead to fuel starvation, loss of engine power, and eventually stalling. Wax plays an important role in fuel by enhancing cetane, which improves cold starting.

The only way to keep diesel fuel running is to add a cold flow improver to your fuel tank.  Cold-flow improvers are used to modify the shape of the wax crystals so that fuel keeps flowing through fuel filters at lower temperatures. However, this must be done before it gets cold.  Once it reaches a cloud point, the cold flow improver additive cannot reverse the gelled fuel once its passed the gel point.  Since the weather is not always predictable, a cold-flow improver provides an added margin of safety for cold-weather operability. Kerosene blending is another option for cold-weather treatment. However, kerosene is typically more expensive and would need to be blended at significant levels to achieve the same results.  In both instances, each has to be purchased in addition to the fuel and stored for such a time when it is needed.

However, there is an alternative.

Mobil Diesel Efficient™ fuel has taken the additives out of the buying equation.  It is the first and only fully formulated, additized diesel fuel with a proven fuel economy claim in the United States. Its patented additive technology is a multifunctional detergent system that is injected and blended into ASTM D975 base fuel with precision at the fuel terminal. In the colder months of November – March, Mobil Diesel Efficient™ contains a cold weather additive that keeps fuel from gelling and keeping the user from purchasing additional additives.

McPherson Oil is a proud authorized distributor of Mobil Diesel Efficient™.  For more information about it’s other properties and how it can help keep your engine clean leading to less downtime, let us know!  We would be happy to show you all that Mobil Diesel Efficient™ has to offer.