Is Dark Fuel the same as Bad Fuel?

December 11th, 2009

No doubt we all worry about whether or not our engines may be damaged when we use “bad fuel”.  And if my fuel is dark, should I assume the worst?  Engines are costly investments and no one wants to accelerate an engine’s demise by running inadequate fuel through it and potentially causing harmful results.

And where does engine failure usually start?  In the fuel tank! A diesel engine is an intricate machine that can actually run for quite a long time given:

  • Its mechanical components are functioning properly and are in good condition;
  • All other systems within the engine, such as cooling and the lube system, are working appropriately;
  • Clean oil is flowing through the engine and its components; and
  • An adequate flow of clean air is available and reaching the combustion chamber.

So what is the potential weak link in the chain?  Your fuel quality.

Dark Fuel is Bad Fuel

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Fuel can degrade over time resulting in a dark or hazy substance.  In general, diesel fuel can range from colorless to golden depending on two different thing:  the crude oil itself and the refinery process used to create it, and whether or not dyes were added to enhance the color of the fuel.   This latter situation is used to support tax identification purposes.

If your fuel is “dark”, this generally implies poor quality and will result in reduced or inadequate combustion and potential filtration issues.  Further, this darkening usually means that the fuel has begun to degrade and has oxidized  If your fuel is “hazy”, water has been absorbed into the fuel.  Dark and/or hazy fuel generally will not damage your engine but you cannot expect optimal performance using sub-par components. Your engine will perform inefficiently and this will only age your system sooner than necessary.

Stored fuel will always have an issue with degradation as all containerized fuel darkens when its components oxidize, go through a repolymerization process and agglomerate.  In addition, these processes form sediment that clogs filters and negatively impacts the combustion cycle.  University of Idaho scientists examined the life expectancy of fuels to determine how quickly stored #2 fuel degrades.  Their findings showed that this type of fuel degraded by 26% after 28 days of storage.

As a result, fuel and oil manufacturers recommend that any fuel stored for emergency situations be discarded and restocked fresh within a year. This is a very expensive approach that many large organizations, government agencies and hospitals assume as their standard operating procedure.  Dr. Fuel Clean offers a better option.

Dr. Fuel Clean helps to eradicate these costly, wasteful and environmentally unfriendly dumping practices.  We can help you maintain high fuel integrity almost indefinitely. Through our defined processes, including quality maintenance and fuel-monitoring programs, Dr. Fuel Clean helps ensure your equipment will function more efficiently and for a longer period of time by running on only superior fuel products.

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Thanks for getting our 1979 Hatteras up and running again. I thought from the problems that we were having, that all the fuel needed to be removed. We have run our boat now for over 220 hours with no filter replacements... (continue)

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