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Budget busters for municipalities - cold flow problems

Posted by: Erik Bjornstad

Heading into the winter, we’ve been reminded of the problems that local and private groups (city and county governments, small to medium businesses) have with their budgets.  The problem of predicting the future and weathering the unexpected equipment issues that arise every year.

One of the problems that our business and government friends up north see hit them pretty hard is the annual winter diesel fuel gelling problem.  Now, Bell Performance has been located in Florida since the mid-1930s (thanks, Robert J. Bell!), so we don’t see fuel gelling during the winter time.  Unless it’s some of the local fleets and bus groups that have to use biodiesel blends – those can gel when the temperature drops down to just 45 or 50 degrees F.

municipal-budget-bustersBut if you’re responsible for maintaining buses or trucks or diesel equipment up north – New York, New Jersey, Chicago, Boston, Michigan – you can’t afford to ignore what the cold does to diesel fuel. And what it does to the equipment running on it.  Nothing will shut down a diesel engine faster than a fuel filter clogged with wax dropping out of gelled diesel fuel.  Then there’s the expense of the downtime, lost service, towing, service time and work. Not to mention the headache of a sizeable unexpected cost that will sap the budget.

Preventive maintenance is the name of the game to keep this from happening. Treating the diesel with a cold flow agent is the only effective way to eliminate these costly gelling incidents and cold flow problems.  Cold flow fuel treatment is a relatively low fixed cost that can be factored into the budget with ease. Keep in mind that, to be most effective, cold flow treatment of the fuel needs to be done before the fuel gets cold enough to get.  Cold flow agents keep fuel wax dispersed, but they don’t reverse fuel that’s already been gelled.

Is there anything to be done for an agency’s fuel that has already gelled to the point where it’s shutting engines down? In these cases, there are quick thaw rescue treatments that typically function to melt gelled fuel in a fuel system.  These emergency treatments are fairly inexpensive and can be included in a preventive maintenance budget without creating too much pressure.

For our city & local government friends up in the New Jersey area, come see us at the NJLM Show, November 18-20th. If you read this blog, mention it to us!

You may be interested in these other posts on cold flow problems:

Cold Flow Improver

This post was published on November 14, 2014 and was updated on November 14, 2014.

Topics: Emergency Preparedness, Fleet