I recently sampled nine refineries to test their fuel’s performance this winter. The base fuel performance for CFPP and cloud point were all over. The worst performer was +10F and the best was -9F. Reactivity with cold-flow improvers were inconsistent as well. One type of polymer worked with one fuel but not with another. Treat rates varied as well, resulting in different treat cost. A couple samples showed no improvement without the addition of #1. So the question the end user has, “What is my fuel’s winter performance?” Not an easy answer without reliable testing.

What are the pro/cons of adding #1 to #2 for winter performance?

Pros

  • consistent winter performance, typically lowers #2 CFPP 10-15F
  • easily available
  • blended at the rack

Cons

  • lowered BTU, lower fuel economy
  • drier fuel, even less lubricity than #2 (more pump/injector wear)
  • cost-typically adds 15-30 cents per gallon to fuel cost

What are the pro/cons of using an anti-gel winter additive?

Pros

  • Treat cost is less than adding #1
  • Does the additive emulsify water in fuel & tank
  • Some additives increase the lubricity of the fuel
  • Other benefits-cetane, moisture control, & detergents to keep your fuel systems clean
  • Increase fuel economy

Cons

  • Have to add it yourself or order from fuel provider
  • Is it at the correct treat rate for the performance you need
  • Does the additive demulsify water in fuel & tank
  • Does the additive lower the lubricity of the fuel (more pump/injector wear)
  • Supply, can you get it when you need it

This weeks fuel tip is written by Dusty Wright, e-mail him at dwright@schaefferoil.com