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"Wow" Facts on Contaminated Diesel Fuel. Be Prepared.

Posted by: Erik Bjornstad

bad_diesel_fuelIn business, a "wow fact" is something that seems unbelievable and makes people sit up and take notice. Nutritionists might make a case for taking vitamins or visiting the doctors by talking about "wow facts" like "Today, fruits like peaches contain less than 2% of the Vitamin A than they did in the 1950s".  Someone who was interested in that area, or even someone who wasn't interested but might be in the future, might read that and think "Wow, I didn't know that. Maybe I should learn more about nutrition."

Seeing as Bell's main business is formulating fuel treatments, we always like to be on the lookout for new and interesting facts about areas that drivers and fuel users and fleet directors may be interested in. In this case, we're interested in the issues of stored fuel health and contaminated diesel fuel. But in the world of business, information overload is, well, everywhere. Fleet directors and business owners get sent information every day about why they need to do this or that with respect to the fuels they're using. So we're not here to pile on. We're here to talk about some "wow facts" in these areas of fuel contamination and fuel health - stuff you may not know, but will make you sit up and say 'Hmmm, I didn't know that." 

Blackout coming? Better make sure your generator works

Or more specifically, that the fuel in the generator is up to par.  Remember the big North American Blackout of 2003? The one that affected 50 million people? I (the guy who's writing this) remember it because I was in Atlanta at a body shop, getting a broken windshield replaced and it was all over the news.  The "wow fact" here is that more than 20% of all backup generation systems either did not start or sputtered to a stop after just a few minutes. That's a lot of failure at the time when people needed them most.  And it was all because the fuel wasn't properly maintained. To be fair, who really expects a blackout to happen on a given day?

Gas and Diesel Fuel aren't likely to see their next month's birthday

Anyone over the age of 50 who says, "Things just aren't what they used to be", well, they're right if they're talking about gas and diesel fuel.  Here's a "wow fact": In 1965, commercial gasoline could be stored for 2-5 years. Today, the expected shelf life of gasoline is 30-90 days. What about diesel? #2 diesel with a small amount of bio mixed in degrades in storage by 26% in the first month. And if there's water present, it degrades by 95%.  This is according to studies conducted at The University of Idaho.

Hurricane season is coming. Businesses, beware.

These fuel facts have direct bearing on the health of businesses going into hurricane season. Any business that relies on stored fuel or backup generation better have a plan for making sure they can get through the aftermath of a hurricane or major disaster and be left standing.  Because another "wow fact" is that 80% of businesses adversely affected by a disaster (and who don't have sufficient resources to deal with the damage) will go out of business within about a month.  Being properly prepared to deal with something like a hurricane or major storm means having the ability to get back to work, doing whatever you do, in as short a period of time as possible after a disaster. An unprepared business would be one that lives on the margins so much that if their generator or backup system fails due to a fuel problem (remember the 20% figure from above), they can't do business and they can't handle being "out of pocket" for two or three weeks.

So don't be one of those businesses. Remember, nobody plans to go bankrupt after a storm. Prepare your backup systems and protocols so your business can be ready for anything the world throws at you.

Other posts you may be interested in:

 Protecting Stored Fuel Quality for Emergency Use

This post was published on June 17, 2014 and was updated on March 29, 2018.

Topics: Fuel Storage