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An unplanned snow day caused by 'bad' gelled diesel

Posted by: Erik Bjornstad

gelled-dieselIt’s hard enough that much of the country has spent this winter gripped in the snowiest season most people can remember.  But parents in Bowling Green, Ohio, recently had to deal with the school district’s buses being sidelined by bad fuel.

The school district uses a fleet of 22 diesel school buses to get the kids to school each day.  They all work hard to get the job done.  On February 17, staff found that ten of the buses couldn’t run well enough to do the job of transporting their precious kid cargo.

The culprit? Gelled diesel fuel affected by the region’s cold snap.

Investigations determined that the buses had been fueled on the Friday before, and they ran well enough on Monday. But on Tuesday (2/17), the buses that had been refueled suddenly found themselves unable to run properly.  Drivers reported they could idle satisfactorily but would stall out when given fuel and trying to move.

One driver found his bus completely stalled on his route, leaving him and two children stranded in the cold, waiting for the district transportation director to come and rescue them.

The school district ended up having to cancel elementary school classes because there weren’t enough buses to run the 25 routes necessary to process all the kids.

They had to work all day to fix the problem, using a fuel additive to treat the tank of the affected buses and get them back on the road.

Would a Cold Flow Improver have solved this problem? Since it sounds like a prototypical diesel fuel gelling situation, it’s highly likely.  Unfortunately, someone at the school district neglected to use a cold flow treatment when those buses were fueled on that Friday.  Just a small amount of preventive maintenance then could have spared a whole day’s worth of headache for the hard-working professionals at the school district. 

Plus, the kids wouldn’t be face with having to make up a lost school day later in the year.

Check out these other posts on Cold Weather Issues:

Cold Flow Improver

This post was published on March 31, 2015 and was updated on March 31, 2015.

Topics: Diesel, Fleet, Heavy Trucks and Equipment