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Additives or No Additives This Summer - That is the Question…

Additives or No Additives This Summer  - That is the Question…

It is true that using fuel additives in the winter months is a more common practice to reduce fuel system problems, but is it becoming more popular for fleets to use year-round additives? The answer to this question is arguable by some. We will investigate the benefits of using fuel additives and what makes them popular so that you can make the right decisions for your fleet.

When discussing the validity of the use of fuel additives, you first need to talk about the variability quality of fuel or US diesel fuel standards. While most of the “nation’s diesel fuel supply is dependable, it is not always consistent. 

According to Roger England, director of technical quality and materials engineering for Cummins, “in recent years, diesel fuel quality has become increasingly important as engines evolve and the diesel fuel manufacturing processes change.” England further claims that “variability in the fuel supply is not likely to improve, so engine makers like Cummins are taking steps to level the playing field.” Advocates for fuel additives like England, say that this is making the use of fuel additives more necessary. Here is a breakdown on how fuel additives work:

  • They improve fuel economy and reduce emissions
  • They lubricate fuel pumps and injectors
  • They add horsepower and improve performance
  • They protect against corrosion
  • They boost cetane ratings

The Truth About Using Fuel Additives 

Most additive advocates will claim that their products will improve fuel economy and reduce emissions. This is attractive to most fleet owners because this saves money and is good for the environment. Another claim would be that additives improve horsepower and overall engine performance. Again, a positive reason for using additives, but not completely true. All additives work to keep engines running smoother and more efficiently but are not entirely necessary. The last claim about additives is that it boosts the cetane number which improves the quality of combustion.

“The cetane number is the key measure of diesel fuel combustion quality. Good quality combustion occurs with rapid ignition followed by smooth and complete fuel burn.” Low cetane number fuels are slow to ignite and burn rapidly which can cause excessive engine noise and vibration leading to soot buildup, from incompletely burned fuel, reducing vehicle performance. “Cetane improvers impact the point of ignition as well as promote a more complete burn of the fuel. The results are improved performance, mpg, and lower total hydrocarbon and carbon monoxide emissions.” In short, using additives might very well keep your diesel engine running cleaner and more efficiently and is good for the environment, but testing various products might help you narrow down what works best for your trucks.

Some might still be skeptical that using fuel additives will solve or prevent future fuel related issues, but research indicates that using a good fuel additive can help compensate for poor fuel quality and even make good fuel better. It is also suggested that including year-round performance enhancers in your fleet maintenance plan will help your engines run cleaner and more efficiently which will mean less repair costs and ensure top engine performance.

Cummins Power Service Products

Most diesel engine makers account for the swing in fuel quality. “Cummins engines are designed, developed, rated and built to both certify and operate efficiently on commercially available diesel fuel.” Recently Cummins endorsed two new Power Service products to address poor fuel quality and here is a brief description of both:

  • Diesel Kleen + Cetane Boost - designed to be used as a year-round performance enhancer most notably known to keep fuel injectors clean, furthering fuel economy and the longevity of your engine.
  • Diesel Fuel Supplement + Cetane Boost. - designed for use more in the winter months when temperatures drop below 30 degrees Fahrenheit. It is a winterizer/anti-gel used to prevent fuel gelling and keep fuel filters from plugging up with ice and wax.

Cummins’ proven technology with these two additives have provided many customers in the industry with “accessible solutions...when they encounter challenges with their fuel such as poor lubricity, low cetane numbers, low-temperature operability issues, injector deposits, etc.” England further adds, “Cummins is in a unique position in that we design not only the engine, but also the turbochargers, fuel system and after treatment systems, which enables us to fully leverage the Power Service diesel fuel additive technologies.”

The key to success with any additives is to identify any weaknesses in your fuel, and to treat them accordingly. There are many reasons to turn to additives, but the most compelling reason is to balance your fuel, increase your octane levels and keep your engines running in tip top condition.

Bear Oil Company trusts Power Service fuel additive products which is why we offer this product line. We hope this information was helpful so, you can make the right choices for your fleet of trucks. For more information on Power Service fuel additives or other Bear Oil Company products and services, reach out to your friendly representative. Taking care of your fleet is our business!

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