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Microbial Infestation of Fuel Tanks? Use a Fuel Cleaner for Bacteria

Posted by: Bell Performance

Anyone who stores or distributes fuel, including your local gas station, has “issues” with controlling and preventing the growth of bacteria and fungi (“microbes”) in their fuel tanks.  Think your local place is immune? Think again. Anywhere there is water (and since fuel tanks are vented to the outside air, there’s *always* water), you have a situation where microbes can grow and multiply in the tank – bacteria and fungi need water build-up to grow and thrive.  If your fuel supplier or gas station has a bacteria issue, you could have one too – it’s very easy for those microbes to get transferred to your vehicle’s fuel tank, growing and multiplying until you have the same kind of problems your supplier had. Namely, clogged fuel filters, corroding tanks and performance-robbing buildup of deposits (caused by the acids the microbes excrete which cause fuel to break apart and lose combustion quality).

bacteria in fuelFuel suppliers spend significant amounts of time and money each year trying to keep the problem of bacteria in fuel under control. An infected storage tank can choke off the life blood of their business – consumer confidence in the quality of their fuel - not to mention get them shut down if a fuel inspector drops by and discovers the problem. There are many fuel treatment products in the marketplace that claim to eliminate bacteria by removing water or controlling its buildup. There is a grain of truth to that, but all is not what it seems. To prevent bacterial infection of tanks, you do have to keep water build-up under control (with Florida’s humid climate year round, that’s a tall order for Florida businesses). But once microbes do infest a fuel tank, simply removing the water will not be enough to kill and remove the infestation – they can still hang around in the fuel tank, waiting for water to accumulate again so they can begin their lifecycles anew.  Any product that claims to destroy and remove an infection simply by controlling water accumulation is not telling the whole truth. To get rid of the fuel infection for good (and the problems that go with it), you need to use a fuel biocide to disinfect the tank and kill the microbes for good.

Biocides are not so easy to find, because they are very tightly regulated by the EPA. Most biocides are quite powerful with low treat rates (1 ounce to 80 gallons or more). Some conscientious consumers will use a low treat rate biocide regularly in their fuel as a “maintenance” treatment to prevent the possibility of future issues. Many times this will work well for them and prove to be a cost-effective strategy – a little expense now almost always heads off big expenses (and headaches) in the future.

Concerned about microbes and bacteria and want to keep your fuel cleaner?  Call us at 877-231-6673 to learn more about Bellicide.

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This post was published on March 22, 2011 and was updated on February 21, 2019.

Topics: Cars and Light Trucks, Diesel, Emergency Preparedness, Biodiesel, Fuel Storage