By Barry Aruda, AFS Northeast Regional Account Manager
In an age where every child earns a trophy, some for simply participating, we’ve come to accept that any level of performance (even arriving to the stadium) is worthy of crowning that performance successful. The truth, is that there are top performers at every level of competition, from amateur to pro, but there are always those that consistently underachieve.
That concept is not lost on the energy industry, in our case specifically, fuel. Historically, diesel has been the go-to player for fleets across the country; powering over the road haulers, off-road construction equipment, and high-idle vehicles like garbage trucks and buses alike. And for many years, diesel scored big each season, with unrivaled power and reliability.
Unfortunately, the energy game is always changing. Equipment evolves, and with that evolution, the strain we place on our fuels becomes almost too great an ask for yesteryear’s fuel. It’s easy to understand why this happens. As refiners strive to squeeze every drop of gasoline from the distillate towers, middle distillates like diesel are beaten down and compromised, making them less likely to perform as they once did. Couple that with the arrival of new OEM engine restrictions (Tier III-V), and suddenly our once MVP doesn’t look like he’ll make the final quarter of the contest.
That being said, all is not lost. While the fight against the changes of time is impossible with athletes, diesel fuel can (and has been) rejuvenated through performance additives, specialized chemicals that bridge the ever-expanding chasm between the ASTM diesel spec (D975) and the OEM engines that continue to emerge from companies like Cummins, Detroit, and Volvo. Without our help from detergents, lubricity enhancers, corrosion inhibitors, and other multifunctional additive packages, our former star player may continue to fail at the most crucial part of our daily contests: on the road with a deadline to meet.
You wouldn’t put 87-octane into a BMW. The reason is simple. BMW has let you know that the minimum requirement for their vehicles in 93-octane. The engine requires it. Recently, Cummins has come out in support of performance additives for their engines. They’ve all but said, “We recommend you use something to protect your fuel in our engines.” They know that new, stringent EPA regulations are going to test the daily load their machines have to process. The OEMS want you to achieve success, because they know if you don’t fall prey to things like injector fouling and manual regenerations, you’re likely to both recommend them and buy from them again and again.
It’s no longer enough to simply show up. There will be no trophies earned for “giving it your best.” Customers count on you to deliver when you say that you will. That’s how you built your brand to begin with—at least I hope. Beyond that, you’ve invested in new technology—high pressure common rail injectors, DPF & EGR components, and heck, you may have even examined new tires and other aftermarket add-ons like wind-deflectors for your fleet. Great. You recognize there’s a challenge to overcome. But without starting at the point of combustion and understanding the deficiencies of “regular” D975 diesel, you might find yourself staring at the scoreboard long after the game has ended.
Think and train like the professionals. Examine your fuel. Not only where that fuel comes from, but the DNA of it as well. A successful fleet manager is constantly thinking about where his fuel is coming from, how it’s being hauled, and where it is being stored before it hits the saddle tank.
When you take the handoff of that fuel, are you confident it’s going to perform? Be the coach that diesel needs. Do what you can to protect your fuel, your investments, and the brand you’ve worked hard to establish. Not all fuel is created equal. It’s time to admit that our veteran diesel needs your help. It has served us well for generations, and with a little TLC, you can identify potential issues and eliminate them before they cost you money. Through the application of advanced chemical technology and comprehensive preventative maintenance strategies, you can all but keep them from occurring altogether.
Diesel has always earned the gold star for reliability, power, and performance. Now is the time to make sure it stays in the game.