Be Aware Of ULSD Issues

To help protect yourself this winter, do your homework. Talk to cold-flow fuel additive suppliers about whether their additive is optimized for ULSD in the areas where you regularly run. Buy winter-blended fuel when appropriate. If you run in the northern states, consider adding fuel-heating equipment to your trucks. In late January and early February, a sudden blast of cold air after a mild winter caused diesel fuel gelling problems that stranded trucks in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, New York, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. In some cases, additives that normally would lower the cold filter plug points were simply not working. Fuel that had been treated with additives that should have lowered the filter plug point to 20 or 30 degrees below zero were found in lab tests to have a plug point of 5 to 10 above. The problems were at least partially due to the transition to ultra low sulfur diesel fuel, mandated by the federal government in conjunction with the 2007 diesel engine emissions standards. ULSD also may be more likely to have water issues, which is a greater danger than ever with today’s engines and also could mean increased microbial growth. Cold Shoulder Most of the problems stemmed from the colder-than-expected conditions, according to Rich Moskowitz, regulatory affairs counsel with the American Trucking Associations. He says fuel terminals had not properly additized the fuel to perform...

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