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5 Strategies to Control Fuel Theft and Track Fuel Spending 150 150 Star Oilco

5 Strategies to Control Fuel Theft and Track Fuel Spending

How to Control Fuel Theft and Track Fuel Spending in your Business.

With gasoline over $5 and diesel over $6 fuel theft is on the rise.  Grab control of your fuel.

Set controls and protections on spending and save money by stopping fuel theft.

Star Oilco is an independent Franchisee of Pacific Pride

5 Strategies to lock down your gas card

Simple monitoring processes can mean thousands of dollars.   Every dollar needs to stretch a little more.  Control your fuel spending.

Protect your business by setting controls and monitoring systems.  As fuel prices have spiked up, it has become a big priority for many.  What was an inconvenience of internal fuel theft of a few hard to replace employees is becoming a very costly problem.  Below is a strategy of how to grab control of your fuel cards.

Use Star Oilco to secure yourself from that fuel theft while also saving on your cost of fuel over retail. Oregon and Washington have some of the highest minimum wages in the U.S.  As the minimum wage and regulations increase, so do the costs at retail gas stations. This is doubly so in Oregon, where you are paying the gas stations employee to fuel your tank and the employee to be there. We can save you money and significantly reduce your risk of fuel theft while also getting your drivers out of retail gas station lines.

Keep a Good Employee Honest

Just like your business experiencing the squeeze of high gas prices, so are your employees commuting to work.  Sometimes when things get tight an employee may make poor choices.  Maybe they use a company credit card to pay a bill, or they fill up their personal vehicle.  Simple controls on your fuel cards could eliminate these issues.  Losing a good employee because they made a bad decision can cost a company a lot of money. Remove the temptation and secure your fleet cards.

Fuel Cards Designed for the Customer Big or Small

Whether your an owner/operator or you are managing a large fleet of corporate vehicles using commercial cardlocks can help you save time and money.  Stand-alone commercial-only Pacific Pride and CFN sites in the northwest are a real resource for businesses. They speed up the labor associated with fueling and significantly lock down the chance fraud or theft will occur on your fuel card. Stand-alone sites limit access to convenience store items so employees won’t be tempted to spend time browsing and make purchases on the company credit card.  If you need even tighter control we can send an email every time your driver uses your Pacific Pride card and a CSV file with your transactions if you have a 3rd party tracking software.  In addition, your bill can be organized by vehicle or driver. Easily identify who, what and where your employees are filling up.

With Pacific Pride and CFN stand-alone commercial cardlock sites, there are other benefits beyond just the convenience. The biggest difference is that these commercial cardlock sites are built with security in mind. Retail stations are engineered to sell as many products as possible to those pulling up for gasoline. Commercial cardlock sites are designed for commercial users who seek the fastest fueling experience. That is a big difference between the two.

Who can get a Pacific Pride or CFN Fuel Cardlock Card?

All you need to access Pacific Pride sites in Oregon is a business license and use over 900 gallons of total fuel a year. CFN commercial cardlock sites have the same requirements. When you work with a company such as Star Oilco that can issue both you only need a total of 900 gallons – not 900 each set.  If you are a business using a commercial quantity of fuel, you qualify to self-serve gasoline and you can stop paying your employees to shop at the most expensive retail gas stations with the best mini-mart selection. Late night fueling becomes easier and less expensive and you can get them back on the road 24-7 and usually without a line to wait in.

 

What Do You Need for Fueling Cards in Washington or any other state?

If you drive into Oregon and want to use gasoline, you still need the same requirements as stated above. If you don’t need access to Oregon gas stations it is much easier to get a fuel card.

Top 5 Strategies to lock down your gas card from theft.

Regardless of what system you choose, use these best practices in your organization. Simple little changes to how you approach fuel cards will greatly reduce any opportunity for theft.

Get out of the gas line

Gas Card Strategy #1

TAKE INVENTORY OF YOUR GAS CARDS – Star Oilco can help with this with an annual review of all of your cards, the last time they were used, and who used them.   Know who has your cards! Every year take inventory of what cards you have and who is using them. A clear card policy implemented by Human Resources or your Dispatcher is a good way to track what employees (or vehicles) have what cards. Star Oilco performs an annual card audit in conjunction with our Oregon Fire Marshall audit.

We’ll gladly supply a list of cards that you have and when they were last used. We can line up a list of active cards with your employees and make sure there isn’t a lost or unused card out there. Using this list, pass a clip board around asking each employee with a fleet card to confirm they still have that card and initial a confirmation that the card is still in their possession. You would be surprised how individual cards can float between employees as it is easier than asking for a new card.

Gas Card Strategy #2

HAVE ACCOUNTS PAYABLE AUDIT YOUR TRANSACTIONS – Star Oilco can provide you with E-Receipts letting you know every time fuel is purchased by an email making it easy in real time.  Review your transactions regularly for strange transactions such as: multiple transactions per day on a single vehicle or card, switching fuel types, and refuels when your business isn’t open. Reviewing your bill, you’ll want to look for transactions that occur outside of normal business hours and days or if certain vehicles are fueling more than once a day these can be indications of theft. An additional indicator is if fuel is being bought outside of your service area. Some of the most common times of day for employee fuel theft are early morning on the way to work (before you open) or after the bars close after midnight.

Gas Card Strategy #3

ATTACH GAS CARDS TO VEHICLE KEYS – Star Oilco can provide you a turnkey program for this strategy with our fleet card program at no additional cost.  By assigning each vehicle in your fleet with its own card is a great practice that communicates this is a card for business and comes back to the business not their own wallet. Put your Fleet Cards on the key ring dispatched with the vehicle. Each driver is then assigned a number that can be used on any vehicle in the fleet. This way you know exactly who is using the card and which vehicle is being filled. To limit a risk of a stolen card, restrict individual card ownership to management and maintenance. Everyone else should have cards directly connected with a vehicles license plate, so it is obvious if that card goes missing.

Gas Card Strategy #4

SET THE GAS CARDS UP WITH LIMITS –  When you assign a card to each vehicle in the fleet you can set limits based on the vehicle. A gasoline vehicle only needs access to gasoline. If your tank size is 20 gallons, that card should be limited to 20 gallons per transaction. Continue to program your cards for the vehicles they are attached to. You can also restrict a card to ensure no one accidentally buys expensive premium or worse, puts the wrong fuel in the vehicle. Reducing the amount of time they can use a card a day limits exposure to theft. A vehicle that never drives more then 50 miles in a day shouldn’t need to fill up more then once a 24 hour period. This reduces the opportunity for theft and also makes theft obvious when the limits are hit. You can also add limits on zip codes, states, and times of days. If someone does steal a card, they would be limited by the time, location, and purchase amount, ensuring that your theft exposure is a few dozen gallons instead of thousands of dollars.

Gas Card Strategy #5

USE E-RECEIPTS TO MANAGE FUEL IN REAL TIME – It’s the 21st century so manage in real time. You can set-up cards to email you based on each card or, if you have one specific one you are are worried about, that card can be set to email you or your fleet management in real time. Better yet, if theft is occurring, you will see it immediately and be able to react. Not only will this lock down your gas card’s security, it will also allow you to address mistakes relating to efficiency. Owners and dispatchers also use this to see where the driver is and if they are where they said they were when they are fueling. Instant feedback and communication is critical to change bad behavior of drivers who mean to do well but may just have made a simple mistake.


Need to lock down your gas card from fuel theft?

Call Star Oilco, we can make it simple.

Star Oilco can help you field all of these best practices. Our motto is “Keep it Simple” and we are here to make this easy. Feel free to reach out and see what Star Oilco can do for your fleet to upgrade its fleet fueling security.

To download a white paper on these Pacific Pride fuel card security feature best practices, go to our Stop Fuel Theft page.

 

Star Oilco is an independent Franchisee of Pacific Pride

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How to save money with a commercial fuel card 150 150 Star Oilco

How to save money with a commercial fuel card

Save money with a commercial fuel card by avoiding the credit card retail price and preventing fuel theft in your business.

How do you avoid the higher credit card prices at gas stations?

Buy Your Fuel at a Commercial Cardlock

Make sure that employee fuel theft is not robbing from your bottom line.

 

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  • Buy Diesel from Pacific Pride and CFN Commercial Cardlocks over retail gas stations.
  • Use a secure Fleet Card that ensures that employee theft is locked down.
    • Make sure your company’s Fleet Card is secured for:
      • A Fleet Card attached to the individual vehicle with a secure identifiable PIN for each employee.
      • Only the times of day you operate.
      • Only the days of the week you operate.
      • Only the fuel products your vehicle uses.
      • A limited number of transactions a day to ensure if a card gets misused the amount is extremely reduced.
      • A real time “E-Receipt” that notifies you of fuel purchases in real time to better manage employees for your fuel costs.

Wholesale pricing at a Pacific Pride commercial cardlock.

 Take control of your fuel spend by buying wholesale instead of retail gasoline.

Over the last year fuel costs have jumped to record highs.   Retail gas and diesel prices in particular are high compared to wholesale market purchasing opportunities for fleets.  Retail posted prices for credit card purchases further increase the cost on your business.

Commercial gas station cards that direct your fleet to buy fuel at convenience stores cost far more than the posted price for fuel.  Many of these gas stations also price diesel fuel with the same mark up as premium gasoline. By getting your employees out of the retail fuel line save in several ways.

How do you save with Commercial Cardlock over a retail gas station?

PRODUCTIVITY – Get out of retail gas lines and self serve your fleet 24-7-365.

PURCHASE CONTROLS – Lock down your fleet cards by vehicle, fuel type, time of day, and Zip Codes to ensure a either a well meaning employee doesn’t buy the wrong product or  a stolen wayward card does not rob from your bottom line.

WHOLESALE AVERAGE BASED PRICING – Buy your diesel and gasoline from a verifiable wholesale index.  Pacific Pride Commercial Cardlock sites are all based from an auditable OPIS Average market index plus our agreed margin. Know what and why you are paying for fuel.  (NOTE: Star Oilco will gladly help you audit your current fuel purchase program)

FLEXIBLE – Star Oilco can combine our fleet card program with Mobile Onsite Fueling and our billing simplifies your fuel program management by consolidating all purchases by your license plates on one invoice. Our Mobile Onsite Fueling and Commercial Cardlock invoices are combined showing you all purchases on one invoice also available for export in a CSV file.

You will first of all pick up productivity, a lack of managerial control, as well as a system that conceals employee theft is tied to the cost of buying fuel.  Move your fleet fuel purchases to Pacific Pride’s network card and save per gallon as well by restricting the fuel purchases you would not want.

Now is the time to look at your total cost of fuel.

Let us help you audit your fuel program.

We will help you clarify your bill by showing what you pay, what’s in that cost of fuel, and how you can save going forward. We do this by concentrating on one fact: there are only three fees in the total cost of a gallon of gas or diesel.

How we approach buying commercial fuel with a gas card.  There are only three parts of your fuel cost.  Let us help you understand what you pay for fuel:

  1. The commodity cost of fuel (the wholesale and verifiable fuel cost itself),

  2. The fuel taxes charged by the feds, state, and local governments on top of that, and;

  3. The margin your fuel vendor puts on top of those two very transparent costs.

Fuel bill audit best practices

Tax time is a good time to revisit your policies and systems.

Let us audit your bill and catch inconsistencies and over charges.

We have a transparent way to analyze your fuel expense that breaks it down in an easily understood format. Our approach will demystify what you’re paying in fuel so you can grab control of your gasoline and diesel bills. Our mission is to ‘Keep it Simple’ and make fuel make sense. There are several types of expenses that get added to your cost of fuel.

Pacific Pride Fuel Security

At Star Oilco, we ‘Keep it Simple’ when analyzing fuel bills.

Today, two trends can be witnessed in the Pacific Northwest: fuel prices are all over the place, and wages are rising against that trend. This makes managing for a low cost of gasoline or diesel extremely hard given the labor that might be involved in chasing that price.

Add to that the fact that retail gas stations are keeping more margins than ever in retail fuel history. With minimum wages approaching $15 in parts of the Pacific NW, the cost of retail gas stations is rising faster than inflation.

Stand-alone commercial cardlock locations such as Pacific Pride and CFN help you save on your own labor, as well as avoid the higher retail cost. One additional feature is you can audit a commercial cardlock fuel seller against the commercial wholesale rack price. Retail sellers promising discounts are discounting from a posted price that is based solely on what they decide a good price can be. Today, that’s a historically high margin above wholesale cost price.

Dig into your bill for an understanding of what you are paying and what you are paying for. Let us demystify the fees, charges, and hard-to-understand line items of our competitors. It seems that many of our competitors, much like cell phone companies, want to give you a bill that is as complex as possible so it’s difficult for you to understand your cost of fuel.

We can clarify your bill by showing what you pay, what’s in that cost of fuel, and how you can save going forward. Commodity cost of the fuel, fuel taxes and the margin of the vendor make up every fuel bill.

Wholesale Fuel Cost + Taxes + Margin = Total Fuel Cost

These three costs can be audited and confirmed. When we quote a prospective customer, we take their existing fuel bill and break it down into a spreadsheet that is easy to understand thanks to these definable costs. Take your existing fuel bill. Choose a few locations that are most commonly used by your fleet. Usually just the two most-used sites are enough to gauge if savings can be gained by changing vendors. Focus on the cost there, as this simplifies your focus as a representative sample of your fuel expenses.

In a spreadsheet, make easy-to-read tabs for each fuel and location. Then gather the dates fuel was bought at each location. Place the date and the price per gallon paid in their own columns. Now you know your cost. In the next column, enter the wholesale price of fuel to compare. This is going to be pretty close to what your fuel vendor was paying for it on that day give or take a few pennies.

The commodity cost of fuel is established in the market. Though different size players have discounts, these discounts are usually pennies per gallon and aren’t substantial overall. You can request a 30 day free trial of the Oil Price Information Service or “OPIS” for your local wholesale market for fuel. Government bids often use this service as a transparent bid price for fuel. NOTE: If you are buying with a Pacific Pride or CFN fleet card that uses stand-alone 24-7 commercial cardlock sites, the price will be based on OPIS as well. If you want help with this, Star Oilco can provide you with a copy of OPIS.

After that, the next column is the fuel taxes on that fuel. In another column next to the wholesale cost of fuel, you place the local taxes associated with that fueling site. Your state will usually have a “Fuel Tax Group” or some variation of that name where the state’s website will list all state and municipal taxes.

After seeing the wholesale cost and fuel taxes charged, all that remain is the margin. Many fuel sellers will try to complicate this by passing costs through, but at the end of the day, this is still their markup regardless of what they call it. This enables you to really have a discussion on what price you are charged to use their fleet card.

Our next step is to determine the typical margin you are being charged. Take the real price you paid on a day. Your next column on the spreadsheet will be the following formula:
NOTE: Margin Charged is the result that should be in your new column.

(Cell with the ACTUAL PRICE PAID) – (Cell with the WHOLESALE COST) – (Cell with FUEL TAXES) = MARGIN CHARGED

If you line up all the days for MARGIN CHARGED and average those (select a cell at the bottom of the column and type “=AVG” and select the data in the MARGIN CHARGED column), you will find the average margin. Usually this is about the same on every one of the sheets for the type of fuel you are buying. Diesel and gasoline margins are typically different. Retail gas stations, in particular, will treat diesel like a premium product so don’t be surprised if those margins are over $.40 a gallon in some places.

If you want help with this, call us!

We will empower you with the knowledge of what your vendor is charging you and determine if it is a fair price for the service. Beyond that, there should be no other costs. If your vendor has other costs (fees, invoice charges, etc.), we’ll show you what those really cost per gallon so you understand your true cost fuel.

Star Oilco makes this clear and easy to understand. Let us know if we can help.

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For more on what is required to self serve gasoline as a small business in Oregon.

For more on Fueling Solutions developed for small businesses dedicated to managing a fleet and drivers for local Delivery. 

Call for service.

 

 

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Emergency Back-up Fuel 150 150 Star Oilco

Emergency Back-up Fuel

Do you need your Emergency Back Up generator filled?

Back-up Fuel Tank

We have drivers on the road today. If you need your generator fueled give us a call.

Spring is here and summer is around the corner.  Be prepared for an emergency now.

When was the last time you had your generator filled?

Open an account with Star Oilco today and be prepared for the next power outage.

Recent wind, snow storms and power outages could mean your generators are empty.  Are you prepared for the next emergency?  Did you fill up from the last?  Keeping your back-up generator fueled could be the difference between an inconvenience and a disaster.  Stay ahead of the next emergency and re-fuel now.

Remember that ordering diesel for your generator is a specialized service.

Getting the fuel for your generator or emergency equipment is only one part of the problem.  How you store it can be just as important.  This is why its important to work with a company that can help you.

You want to stabilize and treat your diesel for generators and other back up equipment.

Order fuel treated for long term storage!

Star Oilco is an expert at fueling back-up generators, emergency water pumps, and other long term off-road diesel storage requirements. We understand, that in the Pacific Northwest, biodiesel blending is required by state laws. Bio-diesel will need  an extra layer of care when stored as a back-up fuel.Filling a Generator in the Snow

Most off-road diesels and heating oils are ultra low sulfur diesel containing at least 5% quantity of biodiesel.  That means long term storage requires a proactive approach.  You can’t just hope it works, or wait to see if the fuel will burn after years of storage.

Proper Generator Fuel is a specially treated oxidative stabilized off-road fuel designed to store for years.

Fuel for a backup generator is a specialized product. More than just the fuel, the service itself takes a vendor who understands your needs and can keep you up and running in an emergency.

Generators take off-road diesel, of course, but you want an ultra low sulfur diesel to ensure it works with modern emission systems. Some companies may deliver a higher sulfur heating oil product that looks the same but can foul the emission systems of your equipment.

Beyond just the service provided by a truck and driver, you also want a vendor who offers a fuel stabilizer and biocide for the special long term storage needs of your backup generator. Star Oilco recommends you add a biocide and long term storage stabilizer to your fuel to ensure it is good whenever you need it.

Use additives designed to prolong the life of your emergency diesel fuel.

Biocides prevent the growth of biological activity in the tank. In scenarios whcontaminated_dieselere micro-organisms like algae, bacteria, yeasts, and other bugs are growing in your fuel, biocides can kill this growth. It is still important to remove the residual grit and other contaminants that are the hallmark of bugs growing in your tank. Usually you remove them by filtration or total turn over of the fuel. If your tank absolutely has to be clean, you can contract a tank professional to enter the tank and physically clean the tank bottom or reline the tank with either fiberglass or an epoxy resin.  We use Valvtect Bioguard Plus 6 for generators, emergency water pumps, backup boiler fuel, and other long term storage purposes. This product kills any existing biological growth and stabilizes your fresh diesel fuel for long term storage. Make sure your diesel is ready the next time you need backup power.

Water in diesel destroys fuel quality rapidly. Check your tank for water every fall and spring.

In events where water finds its way into your storage tank, that can also be corrected by pumping the tank bottom. Additionally, you want to put in an absorbent material designed to absorb water and not fuel. If your long term storage tank has water and you are not planning to burn 100% of the fuel in the near future, DO NOT add anything that removes water by distributing into the fuel. Adding a “fuel drier” that actually pushes the water into solution with the diesel will worsen the long term quality of your fuel, not improve it. That water is where bugs find their home to grow in fuel.

Star Oilco will test your fuel at no charge if you have an open account.

Feel free to call us with any questions you may have about long term storage of diesel. Star Oil can also deliver treated diesel ready for long term storage complete with Hydrotex PowerKleen Premium Diesel additive to improve the long term storage quality of your fuel. For biocide, we use Valvtect BioGuard fuel microbiocide to kill any possible biological activity and prevent any chance of it starting.

Diesel Testing and Storage in Portland

If you have a long term diesel storage tank and you are in the Portland, Oregon area, we are here to test your fuel.  Make sure your diesel is there for you when disaster strikes.

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For more reading on diesel fuel quality assurance:

Fight Humbug in your Diesel Tank (using Valvtect Bioguard Plus 6 to stabalize your stored diesel)

Diesel Fuel Technical Review (an easy to read and free text book on diesel fuel)

Emergency Back Up Generator Fuel Quality (designed to provide a checklist to help Facility Managers keep those back up generators ready for emergency action)

Using Desicant Breathers to keep diesel fuel dry and clean (an introductory primer on desicant breathers and how they can be used to keep long term diesel storage drier and cleaner)

Using Diesel Filters to clean up your diesel fuel quality (an introductory primer on using aggressive filtration in line with diesel fuel dispensing for fuel quality assurance)

Delivery Driver Fueling Solutions 150 150 Star Oilco

Delivery Driver Fueling Solutions

Delivery Drivers are more in demand then ever.

The world has changed.

People are discovering the benefits of having food, groceries and everyday products delivered right to their door.

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If you are a driver or you have a fleet of drivers, the ability to have access to 24/7 fueling stations, controlling your expenses, and protecting yourself from fraud is important.

Star Oilco is an independent Franchisee of Pacific Pride

Cardlock access to fuel all day every day

A new year and delivery seems to be here to stay.  Do you have a way to fuel your drivers and protect your costs at the same time?

The ability to have products delivered and a way to fuel those that are delivering is more important than ever.  Those that are delivering are needed more and more today.  Turnover is high, and and trying to control spending can easily become a full time job. If you’re on the road delivering  you need to be sure that you have fuel and a way to control purchases at the same time.  The solutions is Pacific Pride fuel cards.

New drivers and new employees mean new risks – control those risks with Fuel cards.

The world is shifting towards businesses that can deliver to the customer versus those in traditional retail.  If you need to control these expenses its important to have systems in place.  Don’t put yourself at risk by handing out Credit Cards to new employees. Instead use Pacific Pride fuel cards and set limits for your drivers and employees on what they can buy, when, where and how much.  Credit cards can be abused and it may be weeks later before you know it happened.  With fuel cards you can get an email in real time as each transaction is used.

Protect your business by setting controls and monitoring systems.  If your business is picking up, there is less time to monitor individual employees.   Set up systems that control waste and extra expenses, while giving employees the fuel they need to move your equipment.  If your business is slowing down you will need to tighten your belt and watch every expense.  The same controls can be used on your cards to monitor and adjust the fuel expenses.

If you have a fleet of vehicles that park at a yard every night on-site fueling might also be an option.  This service, also called wet-hose fueling, can help cut costs associated with drivers by reducing the amount of time they are fueling and not delivering product. With larger fleets this can save significant time and expand your capacity for product distribution.  At Star-Oilco we can combine both for a more comprehensive solution.  If you would like to know more about On-Site Fueling options here is the link.

All you need to access Pacific Pride sites in Oregon is a proof that you are a business and use over 900 gallons of total fuel a year.  CFN commercial cardlock sites have the same requirements. If you are a business using a commercial quantity of fuel, you qualify to self-serve gasoline and you can stop paying your employees to shop at the most expensive retail gas stations with the best mini-mart selection. Late night fueling becomes easier and less expensive and you can get them back on the road 24-7 and usually without a line to wait in. (If you want more information about business requirements see here)

What Do You Need for Fueling Cards in Washington or any other state?

If you drive into Oregon and want to use gasoline, you still need the same requirements as stated above. If you don’t need access to gasoline in Oregon, it is much easier to get a fuel card. (check out those requirements here)

Top 5 Strategies to lock down your gas card from theft.

Get out of the gas line

Gas Card Strategy #1

TAKE INVENTORY OF YOUR GAS CARDS – Know who has your cards! Every year take inventory of what cards you have and who is using them. A clear card policy implemented by Human Resources or your Dispatcher is a good way to track what employees (or vehicles) have what cards. Star Oilco performs an annual card audit in conjunction with our Oregon Fire Marshall audit.

We’ll gladly supply a list of cards that you have and when they were last used. We can line up a list of active cards with your employees and make sure there isn’t a lost or unused card out there. Using this list, pass a clip board around asking each employee with a fleet card to confirm they still have that card and initial a confirmation that the card is still in their possession. You would be surprised how individual cards can float between employees as it is easier than asking for a new card.

Gas Card Strategy #2

HAVE ACCOUNTS PAYABLE AUDIT YOUR TRANSACTIONS – Review your transactions regularly for strange transactions such as: multiple transactions per day on a single vehicle or card, switching fuel types, and refuels when your business isn’t open. Reviewing your bill, you’ll want to look for transactions that occur outside of normal business hours and days or if certain vehicles are fueling more than once a day these can be indications of theft. An additional indicator is if fuel is being bought outside of your service area. Some of the most common times of day for employee fuel theft are early morning on the way to work (before you open) or after the bars close after midnight.

Gas Card Strategy #3

ATTACH GAS CARDS TO VEHICLE KEYS – Assigning each vehicle in your fleet with its own card is a great practice. Put your Fleet Cards on the key ring dispatched with the vehicle. Each driver is then assigned a number that can be used on any vehicle in the fleet. This way you know exactly who is using the card and which vehicle is being filled. To limit a risk of a stolen card, restrict individual card ownership to management and maintenance. Everyone else should have cards directly connected with a vehicles license plate, so it is obvious if that card goes missing.

Gas Card Strategy #4

SET THE GAS CARDS UP WITH LIMITS –  When you assign a card to each vehicle in the fleet you can set limits based on the vehicle. A gasoline vehicle only needs access to gasoline. If your tank size is 20 gallons, that card should be limited to 20 gallons per transaction. Continue to program your cards for the vehicles they are attached to. You can also restrict a card to ensure no one accidentally buys expensive premium or worse, puts the wrong fuel in the vehicle. Reducing the amount of time they can use a card a day limits exposure to theft. A vehicle that never drives more then 50 miles in a day shouldn’t need to fill up more then once a 24 hour period. This reduces the opportunity for theft and also makes theft obvious when the limits are hit. You can also add limits on zip codes, states, and times of days. If someone does steal a card, they would be limited by the time, location, and purchase amount, ensuring that your theft exposure is a few dozen gallons instead of thousands of dollars.

Gas Card Strategy #5

USE E-RECEIPTS TO MANAGE FUEL IN REAL TIME – It’s the 21st century so manage in real time. You can set-up cards to email you based on each card or, if you have one specific one you are are worried about, that card can be set to email you or your fleet management in real time. Better yet, if theft is occurring, you will see it immediately and be able to react. Not only will this lock down your gas card’s security, it will also allow you to address mistakes relating to efficiency. Owners and dispatchers also use this to see where the driver is and if they are where they said they were when they are fueling. Instant feedback and communication is critical to change bad behavior of drivers who mean to do well but may just have made a simple mistake.

Work with a business that wants you to succeed and has the tools to protect your fuel expenses.

Use Star Oilco to secure yourself from that fuel theft while also saving on your cost of fuel over retail.  Oregon and Washington have some of the highest minimum wages in the U.S.  As the minimum wage and regulations increase, so do the costs at retail gas stations. This is doubly so in Oregon, where you are paying the gas stations employee to fuel your tank and the employee to be there. We can save you money and significantly reduce your risk of fuel theft while also getting your drivers out of retail gas station lines.

Whether your an owner/operator or you are managing a large fleet of corporate vehicles needing fueling commercial cardlocks can help you save time and money.  Stand-alone commercial-only Pacific Pride and CFN sites in the northwest are a real resource for small business. They speed up the labor associated with fueling and significantly lock down the chance fraud or theft will occur on your fuel card. Stand-alone sites limit access to convenience store items so employees won’t be tempted to spend time browsing and make purchases on the company credit card.  In addition, there are less people at the site and less chance of a coming into contact with someone that is sick.

With Pacific Pride and CFN stand-alone commercial cardlock sites, there are other benefits beyond just the convenience. The biggest difference is that these commercial cardlock sites are built with security in mind. Retail stations are engineered to sell as many products as possible to those pulling up for gasoline. Commercial cardlock sites are designed for commercial users who seek the fastest fueling experience. That is a big difference between the two.


Need to lock down your gas card from fuel theft?

Call Star Oilco, we can make it simple.

Star Oilco can help you field all of these best practices. Our motto is “Keep it Simple” and we are here to make this easy. Feel free to reach out and see what Star Oilco can do for your fleet to upgrade its fleet fueling security.  If your fueling just one vehicle or your dealing with corporate fueling for 100’s of vehicles, we can help you set up an account.

To download a white paper on these Pacific Pride fuel card security feature best practices, go to our Stop Fuel Theft page.

 

Star Oilco is an independent Franchisee of Pacific Pride

Contact Form

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Oregon Diesel Taxes Explained 150 150 Star Oilco

Oregon Diesel Taxes Explained

How Oregon Diesel Taxes Are Calculated

As of January 1st, 2022 Oregon is raising the Fuel Tax to $.38 a gallon. (source) The prices in this article have been updated to reflect that.  There will be another $.02 a gallon fuel tax increase set in 2024 as well.

Oregon is unique in its handling of diesel. All fuel isn’t used or taxed the same in the state of Oregon. First off, there is no sales tax for any fuels. The taxes that are charged for diesel are divided into 3 categories: dyed diesel, PUC use and everyday road use or “auto diesel.”  The big difference in pricing is how the diesel is used and the size of the vehicle using the diesel.

 

Oregon Fuel Taxes in a Nutshell

Off-road diesel:  If a vehicle is burning diesel “off-road” like a back-hoe, agricultural use, generators or similar use, the fuel is not taxed by either the federal government or Oregon State. This fuel is also dyed red to show it is for off-road use only. If you use dyed red off-road diesel fuel in an on-road vehicle and you get caught, the state of Oregon can and will likely fine you $10,000. Yes, we have seen them do this in recent history.

On-road diesel (auto diesel).  If your vehicle is below 26,000 gross vehicle weight, Oregon charges a per gallon vehicle tax.  This tax is paid at the gas pump, is collected by the retail or commercial cardlock location, and you do not have to consider any additional taxes other than buying on-road fuel.

On-road diesel (P.U.C. diesel). If your vehicle is above 26,000 gross vehicle weight in Oregon, you pay a weight mile for your vehicle’s state diesel tax.  This cost per mile depends on your registered vehicle weight with Oregon. It is anecdotally assumed at the top weights over 80,000 lbs of gross vehicle weight, this tax is equivalently more than double the per gallon cost of auto diesel bought at a retail location.  This class of diesel usage requires extra P.U.C. filings and vehicles over 26,000 GVW have special P.U.C. plates denoting their class as it relates to diesel fuel tax.

Oregon Fuel Taxes for a Layperson

A small motorhome that would use On-Road Diesel

A small motorhome that would use on-road diesel

The easiest one to understand is on-road diesel, also known as “auto diesel.” Most non-truck vehicles driving on streets, roads, and highways around Oregon fall into this category for use, or as you can see in this picture, a smaller motor home or RV (recreational vehicle).  This fuel is the one you see at a pump at a retail station. Its price includes federal tax, state tax and any applicable local taxes.

Current auto diesel taxes in Oregon for vehicles under 26,000 GVW (gross vehicle weight):

  • Federal tax rate is $.244 per gallon
  • The state tax rate is $.38 per gallon

In addition to these, local municipality and cities have their own taxes that can be added to the price of fuel. To make it even more complicated, some cities charge a different tax amount based on time of season; specifically Newport and Reedsport who charge a few more cents during the summer months. Currently the highest additional taxes are in the city of Portland, Oregon at $.10 per gallon. Source.

Example:
Fuel price at the pump is listed at: $2.989

  • Federal                =$.244
  • State                    =$.38*
  • Portland             =$.10

For a total of                =$.724 per gallon in taxes

The actual cost per gallon would be $2.265. This includes the OPIS (Oil Price Information Service) wholesale price, transportation costs, and the margin the retail station adds to pay its bills (usually $.15 to $.40 depending on the provider).

*January 1st, 2022 Oregon State Tax fuel went up to $.38 per gallon for Oregon Motor Vehicle Fuel Tax. Oregon Use Fuel Tax also went up to $.38 a gallon.

 

Dyed Diesel also called Red Diesel is used for vehicles that don't drive on public roads.

Dyed diesel, also called red diesel, is used for vehicles that don’t drive on public roads.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dyed diesel, also called farm diesel, marked fuel, or red diesel, is a fuel that has an added dye in the mix. The dye, usually solvent red 26 or solvent red 164, doesn’t cause any change in the operation of an engine versus using regular clear diesel. The dye marks the taxable status of the fuel.

This fuel is intended for only off-road equipment and vehicles. Farm equipment, construction vehicles and any other vehicles that don’t drive on public roads can use this fuel. In addition, any engine or oil heater that burns diesel is allowed to use dyed diesel. Those that have heating oil delivered are purchasing dyed diesel.

The benefit of this fuel is that you save state, federal, and city or municipal taxes. Acquiring this fuel as a customer usually requires access to a commercial fueling station or hiring a fuel company to deliver the fuel. This is likely to prevent accidental use of this fuel in an on-road vehicle. Anyone found using dyed diesel in an on-road vehicle will be fined. Fines are either $10/gallon or $1000 per violation, whichever is greatest (Source). To ensure that diesel users aren’t abusing this fuel, police officers can “dip” a tank; usually by sticking a clear tube into a tank and verifying the color of the fuel.

Oregon PUC Permit and IFTA for vehicles over 26,000 GVW

Oregon PUC Permit and IFTA for vehicles over 26,000 GVW

Oregon PUC Permit – While PUC stands for “Oregon Public Utilities Commission”,  it is the Oregon Transportation Department who regulates fuel taxes and PUC plates.

PUC plates are required by vehicles over 26,000 GVW. Oregon PUC Permit or heavy motor vehicle trip permit refer to vehicles that are at this weight and up to 80,000 GVW. They also include an Oregon PUC card number and a log book that shows fuel usage. View Table “A” tax rates.

These vehicles are only required to pay the federal tax at the pump. They are then required to log the mileage they drive and pay an amount based on weight, number of axles and miles. The heavier the vehicle, the more wear and tear on the road, so the higher the tax.

Oregon per Mileage fuel tax for vehicles between 26,000 lbs and 80,000 lbs.

Source : Oregon Department of Transportation 

The fees are applied for a whole trip. Say a truck is scheduled to drive 100 miles round trip to deliver watermelons. A vehicle driving 100 miles that weighs over 44,000 but less than 46,000 would be charged $0.0907 per mile or $9.07. Trucks that are driving a full load of product and an empty load back pay for the total miles of the trip, including the miles they are driving empty. In the above example, even if half the miles were at the 26,001 rate for the return trip, the taxable rate is the full load price.

Any commercial vehicle that is over 80,000 GVW would use the Table “B”, which is similar but includes different pricing based on the number of axles, not just weight.

Oregon per Mileage fuel tax for vehicles between 80,000 lbs and 105,500

Source: Oregon Department of Transportation

As the vehicles get heavier, the amount of axles used change the price. In the chart, 5 axles at 81,000 miles is $0.2115 a mile and a vehicle with 9 axles and the same weight is $0.162 a mile.

For any additional questions about the PUC plates, tax rates and trucking information in Oregon, please contact ODOT at 503-378-5849.

IFTA – International Fuel Tax Agreement

IFTA is for the same vehicles over 26,000 GVW if they drive into more than one state or into Canada. IFTA helps simplify the reporting process of taxes, refunds and mileage for vehicles that travel in more than one state. These commercial motor vehicles are required to file quarterly with their base jurisdiction and the amount of taxes that they might have paid at the pump is recorded. Then they either pay the difference or receive a refund if they overpaid. Prior to IFTA, trucks would need a permit for every state they operated in.

 

Star Oilco is a supplier of  Fuel for NW Oregon and SW Washington.  If you have questions about fueling your fleet or your construction site we would love to talk to you.

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To learn more about What Oregon Requires for a Business to Use Pacific Pride and CFN Cardlock Stations

To learn more about RV Vehicles and Pacific Pride or CFN cards

Recent proposed legislation could mean more or different tax handling fees or laws in the future. We will be following these stories as they come out. If you would like to know more – Oregon Legislature proposes an end to petroleum diesel

If you would like to learn a little bit more about biofuels – Every Question We Have Been Asked About Biodiesel & Every Question We Have Been Asked About Renewable Diesel

Got questions about Red Dyed Diesel? We have answers!

Every question Star Oilco has been asked about heating oil 150 150 Star Oilco

Every question Star Oilco has been asked about heating oil

Heating Oil FAQ (and not so FAQ)

Every Question Star Oilco has been asked about Heating Oil

It’s getting cold again in the Pacific Northwest, so it is time to take a look at some common questions we have been asked about Heating Oil.  If you don’t see an answer to a question you have, please feel free to call, email, or message Star Oilco and we will gladly answer. We especially welcome questions  that require research.

What is Heating Oil in Oregon?

Heating Oil in Oregon is diesel and can have a biodiesel blend as well.  Diesel fuel has several grades either #1 or #2 Diesel.  The number refers to the grade with #1 being called either “stove oil” or “Kerosene” as another term for it.  Typically when someone is requesting or talking about heating oil they are talking about #2 Diesel dyed red to denote there are no on-road fuel taxes associated with the fuel.

How does a heating oil furnace work?

There are several types of oil furnaces.  The most common is a vaporizing burner.  These furnaces typically work by taking a liquid combustible fuel, vaporizing it into a fine mist through a fuel oil nozzle, and igniting that mist into fire. That fire heats either air or water for your home’s comfort.

Heating Oil Fired Air Furnaces

Air furnaces usually move the air through a heat exchanger where a blower then moves air over the heat generated by your furnace, and finally the air is pushed through your home’s vents. 

Heating Oil Fired Water Furnaces and Boilers

Boilers and Water furnaces heat a tank of water which is then distributed several different ways to heat your home.  Either by moving hot water to radiators, radiant plumbing under your floor, or to a heat exchanger and blower which transfers the heat from the hot water into vents blown throughout your home. 

Heating Oil System prior to the combustion system

The parts leading up to the Burner of of an oil furnace system are simple. There is a tank to hold a reservoir of oil, a line from that tank (and sometimes a line back to it), a fuel filter, a fuel pump, and a vaporizing burner that combusts the heating oil into fire. Combustion of the fuel takes place in a fire box next to the heat exchanger. The heat exchanger takes on the heat of the flames to heat either air or water. In an oil furnace, the heat exchanger is assisted with a blower that pushes the hot air throughout your home to keep you comfy.

How do I check the volume of fuel in my heating oil tank?

If you have an above or below ground heating oil tank you can confirm your fuel volume by the inches of fuel in the tank.  If you have an above ground tank there is probably a tank gauge that can tell you an approximate volume in the tank.  If you have an below ground tank you can confirm how many gallons are in the tank by putting  a measuring stick or tape-measure into the tank.

You will want to confirm the size of the tank you have. Your oil provider will probably have an idea of what size your tank is by looking or historic deliveries. Star Oilco has a tank chart which will help.  If you place a stick or tape measure into your tank and see how much fuel is in it you can compare that to a tank chart found on Star Oilco’s website.  When delivering fuel you can “stick” measure the tank before and after the delivery. Compare these volumes with the delivery and you can often figure out your tank size based on the before and after volume lining up with how much fuel filled your tank.

To view Star Oilco’s Tank Chart please click HERE. 

What is “home heating oil” or “residential heating oil?”

Home heating oil can be either a petroleum diesel fuel, bio-synthetic diesel fuel, or biodiesel fuel. In Oregon and Washington, home heating oil is typically ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel often containing between 5% and 20% biodiesel. Star Oilco’s standard home heating oil fuel is B5 dyed ultra-low sulfur diesel. Oregon mandates require that all diesel fuel sold contain a minimum 5% biodiesel. For that reason Star Oilco carries B5 or 5% biodiesel blends in our heating oil. (NOTE: Kerosene sold by Star Oilco contains no biodiesel due to the reality that wick heaters cannot handle even a minute amount of biodiesel in them.) Star Oilco also carries a 20% biodiesel blend, called B20 Bioheat, for customers who want a cleaner burning low carbon fuel for their home.

What is kerosene heating oil?

Kerosene is a heating oil product that is capable of being picked up and fed consistently by a wick heater. Kerosene is a diesel product that is very similar to the fuel used for over the road trucks. The big difference is that kerosene is a “lighter end” distillate fuel, which means it has a lighter specific gravity. This lighter characteristic means that it also works better in certain systems like wick heaters, pressure washers, and pot burner stoves.

Can heating oil be used in a kerosene heater?

It depends on what type of system the kerosene heater is operating with. If you have a wick heater it will not work with heating oil. You will likely have to replace the wick to get it to work again as diesel will not readily drawn into the wick. Even if it does, it will burn far dirtier. If it is a pot burning system like a Toyostove or Monitor heater, then it will burn ultra low sulfur heating oil. Increased maintenance is to be expected on the pot burner, as there is a likelihood of more coking (crusty black soot build up) to occur inside that system.

What is “bio heating oil” or bioheat?

Bio heating oil and bioheat refer to heating oil products with a blend of biodiesel in them. Typically bioheat is a blend between 5% to 20% biodiesel with ultra low sulfur diesel for a clean burning and low CO2 heating fuel.

For a really in-depth look at biodiesel used as a heating oil check out this article. 

Will heating oil run a diesel engine?

Yes, heating oil will run in a diesel engine. Heating oil is diesel. Be aware though that on-road vehicles must only run clear diesel fuels. If caught using heating oil in an on-road vehicle in Oregon and Washington, the fines can run in the tens of thousands of dollars. Heating oil can also be dyed to signify it isn’t for on-road use.  Also be aware that even many off-road pieces of equipment and generators need ultra low sulfur diesel to operate without very expensive maintenance. Heating oil can have low sulfur or even high sulfur contents that could cause real issues for modern clean diesel engines. Some consideration is needed prior to burning a fuel marked “heating oil” in a diesel engine.

What heating oil do I need?

Consult your furnace, stove, boiler or water heater’s factory recommended specification. Typically it’s Number 2 Diesel unless it is a stove pot or wick heated system. If you have a furnace or a boiler in your basement, you can assume it’s heating oil. Call a licensed and bonded heating oil furnace technician to tune up your furnace to confirm for sure. If you do not have one, Star Oilco can refer you to a number of reputable long-time firms who can help.

What are heating oil additives and are heating oil additives worth it?

Heating oil additives are added to fuel in order to improve it’s long term storage and performance.  They are worth it and most reputable heating oil providers additize their fuel without an extra charge.  This is because most heating oil customers store their fuel for long periods of time.  If you are planning on storing heating oil for years you will need a fuel additive to keep that fuel in the quality needed for your furnace.  Star Oilco provides a premium diesel additive called Hydrotex PowerKleen to every gallon of heating oil we sell.  Beyond this stabilizers, if you are planning on storing fuel for years we recommend ValvTect Plus 6.  You will want to treat your fuel with a biocide like ValvTect Plus 6 to will kill any bacteria, yeast, algae, or other biological organism that can grow inside your heating oil tank.

For more on storing diesel or heating oil for long periods of time please read this article on long term fuel storage.

What does heating oil smell like?

Heating oil smells like diesel. It is a diesel product and often, depending on location, it is the same as on-road diesel. It may be dyed to denote that it is an off-road fuel with a untaxed use. Heating oil is dyed red in the Pacific NW to show it is off-road diesel.

What is Heating Oil #2?

Heating Oil #2 is number 2 diesel or the standard diesel sold in most places for on-road diesel use. Heating Oil #2 is a slightly different specification than on-road diesel that allows for more sulfur. That is a big difference as far as the EPA is concerned. On-road and off-road vehicles in the U.S. are required to use ultra-low sulfur diesel. Heating oil systems can use low or high sulfur diesel fuels. Ultra low-sulfur diesel is the most common Heating Oil #2 fuel that is delivered by Star Oilco since it is a superior and cleaner burning fuel, in our opinion.

Where can I buy heating oil at the pump?

In the Pacific NW heating oil is ultra low sulfur diesel. Therefore, you can buy any diesel sold at a retail gas station, truckstop, farm supply or other liquid fuel seller.  Heating oil is dyed red to show that it is not taxed for on-road fuel use.  Other than that red dye, typical auto-diesel will work in your oil furnace if you need to supply it from a diesel can.

At what temperature does heating oil freeze?

Heating Oil Gel Point:

In the Pacific NW we expect number 2 diesel heating oils to be operable beyond -10 degrees. The record cold weather in the Willamette Valley is above 0 degrees (recent decades 16 degrees was our record low in Portland). We do test and additize our fuels to ensure they meet this specification even if they contain 5% biodiesel blended into heating oil.

Kerosene Gel Point:

Kerosene fuels (Number 1 Diesel, Number 1 Stove Oil, and Kerosene labeled fuels) are expected to be good below -30 degrees and are designed to be used in high altitude applications. (Kerosene and jet fuels are often the same specification in the Pacific NW.)

B20+ Biodiesel Gel Point:

Biodiesel blends of B20 and above are assumed to be good to 20 degrees but if Star Oilco expects below-freezing weather, we highly recommend B5 as your delivered fuel. B99 biodiesel typically gels at 40 degrees, so it’s not a winter fuel unless you have a system designed to keep the fuel warm in the middle of winter.

What is “oil heating,” “oil fired heater,” or “oil furnace” referring to in a house description?

“Oil Heat” or “Oil Fired” refers to a heating system reliant on burning heating oil. Typically this is by use of a vaporizing burner that takes the combustible liquid that is heating oil and vaporizes it through a nozzle into an igniter that causes it to burn.  This system burns the heating oil, creating a great deal of heat that can warm air, water, or both to heat a home or commercial space.

Are heating oil fumes make you sick?  Is heating oil fumes harmful, dangerous, or toxic?

NOTE: IF HEATING OIL HAS BEEN INGESTED PLEASE SEE A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL!
Heating oil by itself is not dangerous or toxic if it come in contact with your skin.  It is easily washed off with soap and water.   If a small amount of diesel is spilled on the surface of the ground it typically will break down on it’s own in the presence of the environment.  If a small amount is spilled on concrete or asphalt it can be cleaned up easily with dish soap and water and will break down.  If your tank leaks and heating oil is soaked below ground this will not break down easily and will take professional help to treat.  The exhaust from heating oil systems contains carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide as well as particulates.  Heating oil and other diesel exhausts are very dangerous and toxic and should be avoided.  Do not allow exhausts of any kind to collect in an enclosed space.

Can heating oil evaporate?

Heating Oil’s vapor point (the temperature it turns to vapor and evaporates) is around 140 degrees Fahrenheit.  Heating oil ignites at 160 degrees.  Typically in the Pacific NW the temperature (especially outside) is well below the vapor and flash point of diesel fuels including heating oil and kerosene. If spilled it will not usually evaporate. You can clean heating oil and diesel up with regular dish soap and water.

Can heating oil vapor explode?

Heating oil ignites at 160 degrees.  So unless the temperature is that high an explosion is not a risk.  Fire Code regulating heating oil tanks and placement takes this concern into account.  So typically except in extreme scenarios heating oil vapor does not pose an explosion risk.

Can heating oil fumes ignite?

If you drop a match into a cup of heating oil at room temperature it will go out.  If you hold a match to the surface of the heating oil in that cup the flame will get large and bright but the heating oil itself will not ignite.  Heating oil needs to be vaporized before it will ignite. It is a combustible fuel so it must be in a vapor form to light.  The vaporizing nozzle of your heating oil furnace turns diesel into a vapor mist easily ignitable.

Can heating oil go bad?  How long can I store heating oil?

Yes, heating oil can go bad. If you are planning to store heating oil for longer than a year, you should use a diesel additive that stabilizes fuel for long term storage. If you are storing the fuel as a back-up where you might go years without using it, you should also consider adding a biocide to ensure nothing grows in your tank. The two biggest threats to your fuel staying in specification are water and biological growth. Biological growth occurs inside the water that can collect in your tank bottom naturally through condensation over time. Star Oilco treats 100% of our dyed fuels with Hydrotex Powerkleen to ensure that it is stable for storage for over a year. If you need to store it longer than that, we further recommend adding a desiccant breather to scrub moisture out of the air when your tank breaths, which protects it from additional water.

  For more on additizing your heating oil for long term storage please follow THIS link.

Can a heating oil tank be outside?

Yes, heating oil tanks properly installed outside are perfectly safe and capable of ensuring your fuel stays clean and dry.

Are heating oil tanks regulated?

Yes, at several different levels. With residential use, there are local jurisdictions’ building permit requirements for installation and safety. With commercial use, there is the same building permit regulation and usually an added level of Fire Marshall sign-off for siting of any tanks. In rural areas, regulations are different if the tank is associated with an agricultural use. In Oregon and Washington, a 90 day temporary tank for construction purposes (to move from one tank to another in a formal process) is usually allowed, but you should ensure the temporary tank is a double wall tank and is in a safe place. If your tank leaks (or even if there is a suspicion of a leak), the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and Washington Department of Ecology have an involved process to close out a leaking oil tank.  

Do I need to do maintenance on my heating oil furnace?

Yes, you need to ensure you maintain your oil furnace. Star Oilco recommends getting a tune up annually or at least every other year.  If you are seeking a referral to a HVAC company that specializes in oil heat, call Star Oilco’s office 503-283-1256 and ask for a list of qualified license and bonded companies we recommend. 

One of the great benefits of oil heat is that oil furnaces are known to last for over fifty years if maintained properly. Natural gas and propane furnaces typically wear out every ten to twenty years dependent on their construction. The primary wear consideration on any furnace is the heat exchanger. The heavy steel part takes the flame of burning fuel, transmits this heat to the air, and is then pushed to heat your home. Oil furnaces must be tuned up every year or two to ensure the heat exchanger is cleaned. If you do not service the heat exchanger, it will collect soot. Soot insulates the heat exchanger unevenly and causes wear that will eventually lead to a crack. If a heat exchanger is cracked, the furnace is no longer safe to operate. Additionally, an annual tune-up will pay for itself by ensuring your furnace is burning at peak efficiency. You will want to replace your furnace air filter regularly on an annual basis.

Do I need to do any maintenance on my heating oil tank?

Yes, you want to check your oil furnace for water annually. Star Oilco can stick your tank for water at no charge upon request with a fuel delivery.

How do I reduce my consumption of heating oil?

Tuning your furnace annually or every other year is highly recommended. Adjusting the fuel air mixture for the most efficient combustion goes a long way to ensure you use as little heating oil as possible. Star Oilco has witnessed fifty and even seventy year oil furnaces operate at modern efficiencies when maintained regularly over their lives. Today there are also a host of high efficiency oil furnaces that are manufactured and supported to further reduce your cost of fuel.  Additionally, confirming the envelope of your home is not drafty or needlessly wasting heat can go a long way in reducing your heating expenses.

How do I reduce the price I pay for Heating Oil?

The price of heating oil fluctuates frequently due to market conditions.  This is out of our control.  Comparison shopping is your best way to ensure you pay the best possible price. One web based tool we have heard customers like to use to save time while shopping for heating oil is Fuelwonk.com.  It is free and easy to use.

If you do not like our price and someone else is cheaper let us know.  We will match their price. Fuelwonk.com makes it easy to look at a glance at the market for heating oil. We use it and if we are missing something let us know.

Will Heating Oil be phased out?

Heating Oil is a modern fuel that uses today’s heating oils and biofuels.  The investments in research and development for heating oil furnace by the National Oil Research Alliance to use a wider variety of biofuels in higher lower CO2 blends have kept heating oil relevant in many applications.  As a heating fuel, it’s use will become more rural than urban rather than a phase out. As it is today, the use of heating oil will be used where natural gas is not available especially if the temperatures get below zero.  The reason for urban adoption is that natural gas in recent years has been cheaper than heating oil due to the surpluses of natural gas created by the fracking development of petroleum.

What are “Degree Days?”

Star Oilco uses a Degree Day system for our customers on Automatic Keep-Full Service.  We fill your tank before it needs it automatically.  We use a statistical regression analysis that correlates your typical use of heating oil in your home along side the weather.  Over years of service our systems will track your usual fuel usage and we automatically schedule delivery to keep your tank full.

What is the energy content or “BTU’s” of Heating Oil?

The technical term “BTUs” refers to “British Thermal Units” which is a measure of energy content of a fuel.  The energy content of diesel fuels can vary slightly by regions and specifications of those regions.  In the Pacific Northwest heating oil is typically Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel with a blend of biodiesel content that can range from 5% to 20% added to the fuel.   This means the exact BTU measured for a gallon of heating oil an slightly vary.

Source: US Alternative Fuel Data Center Fuel Properties Comparisons
Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel: 128,488 BTUs to 138,490 BTUs per gallon.
B5 Biodiesel is presumed to be about the same BTUs as ULS Diesel.
B100 Biodiesel: 119,550 BTUs to 127,960 BTUs per gallon.
B20 Biodiesel: 126,700 BTUs to 136,384 BTUs per gallon.

B20 Biodiesel Heating oil provider
In-depth look at Biodiesel as a heating fuel 500 500 Star Oilco

In-depth look at Biodiesel as a heating fuel

Can you Bio diesel as a Heating Oil Fuel?

In a recent study, the viability of biodiesel – also known as bioheat – and its use as a heating oil was examined.Star Oilco an experienced provider of BioDiesel Heating Oil

TL:DR Biodiesel up to B20 and beyond do not require equipment changes or settings. Home heating systems have used biodiesel since 2000 and have shown no significant issues compared to standard fuel.

The study reviews pump seal performance, metal interactions, burner combustion and even reviews in-the-field users of biodiesel.

Use of biodiesel reduces GHG (Greenhouse Gas) by 50% – 86% compared to petroleum diesel, according to NORA.

 

In a study from Brookhaven National Laboratory that was submitted to the National Oilheat Research Alliance (NORA), Dr Thomas A. Butcher and Rebecca Trojanowski studied the use of Biofuels in Heating Oil and any possible issues that could result from usage.

Biodiesel mixtures are labeled as B* where the * is the percentage of biodiesel. For example B20 would be 20% biodiesel and 80% petroleum diesel.

By breaking it down into 5 separate studies and a review of actual field use for nearly 20 years, they set out to evaluate the possible fail points of using B20 and higher heating oil blends.

Bio Diesel and Pump Seal Material Evaluation

From the start, the pump shaft seals were identified as the area with the most concern of failure. So, this is where the study began. They identified the most common seals in pumps for North America were nitrile material. The study then focused on this material.

For this part of the study, they took the nitrile material and immersed it in different biodiesel and No.2 fuel blends. They soaked these for 670 hours at 125 °F.  The samples were than checked to see if the hardness changed, looked at swelling, tensile strength, and compression deformation.

Results: There were no significant changes for the nitrite for fuels meeting ASTM standards. This includes biofuel up to B100. The one concern was fuel that had acid numbers above 2 could lead to accelerated degradation. B100 standards call for acid numbers 0.5 and below.

Biodiesel and the Evaluation of Oil Burner Pumps Under Operating Conditions

This second test also dealt with the same seals. The difference in this test was that the pumps were in continuous action. They set up 42 pumps to run for 11 months. A pump would run for 5 minutes and then turn off for a minute. This resulted in 80,000 on/off cycles in a period of 8,030 hours. During this time no leaks were observed in any of the pumps.

Result: There wasn’t any difference in degradation between using B0 and B20.

Exposure of "Yellow Metals" at low temperature with biodiesel

Copper fuel lines are installed in many older oil heating homes. This was due to lower cost and the fact they were easy to manipulate during installation. This could be a problem because No.2 fuel and biodiesel could accelerate the oxidative degradation of the fuels when exposed to copper.

This experiment consisted of using 10 inch tubes filled with different levels of biofuels: B0, B20, and B100. These would be stored at 70 °F  for 6 months in 3 types of tubes: stainless steel, old copper (a fuel line that had been in service for 30 years), and new copper. Most systems only would expose the copper pipes for a very limited time, so 6 months for any exposure is an extreme amount of time.

Results: An acid value of 2 was shown to degrade nitrile material in the earlier experiments. None of the fuel crossed this mark. The closest was B0 in the stainless steel. This fuel got to 1.5 from .04 (where all the fuel started). These tests were considered to represent summer shutdown of a heat-only boiler or furnace.

Exposure of "Yellow Metals" and biodiesel at high temperature

In addition to copper fuel lines, the other major source of yellow metal would be the brass nozzles. Most fuel isn’t in the nozzle long enough to cause any changes, but the fuel left unburned between firings is exposed to higher temperatures then those in the lines. It was decided to try and see if there was changes for this exposure.

The experiment was open top glass beakers with brass and stainless steel nozzles stored in B0, B20, and B100 levels of fuel. This setup was stored in an oven at 175 °F for a week.

Result: The result was a relatively small increase during this time. Even after the experiment was continued for another 4 weeks the numbers represented no significant differences.

Biodiesel Combustion Performance and Flame Sensor Response

The goal of this experiment is to evaluate the proper atomization and combustion performance of biodiesel blends in heating oil systems and to see if there was any issues with flame sensor operation and effectiveness.

The fuel for a home heating oil system requires the fuel to be pushed through a 10 micron filter and then pushed into a fire box at 100 – 150 psi and ignited. This is compared to a diesel engine that have a nominal pore size between 2 and 30 microns and then injected into the system at 20,000 psi.

According to the study, “In comparison to the… diesel engine, heating oil systems are open flame systems and excess air is used to ensure complete combustion. The amount of excess flue gas oxygen is generally between 3% and 6% excess O2 or 15% and 40% excess air to minimize smoke and ensure very low levels of carbon monoxide.” These are usually set by a technician and then re-checked on service calls every 1 or 2 years. “Since properly operating home heating oil systems burn the fuel completely in excess air and emissions are low… Due to this clean combustion, heating oil emissions are typically not measured or monitored, with the exception of smoke and CO.”

The testing was set up first for conventional No. 2 fuel and then adjusted for B100 fuel.

Result: Showed that B20 performed at the same level as regular No. 2 fuel and the bio blend could go all the way up to 50% before the need to adjust the airflow. So, the conclusion was that if the unit is running higher levels of biofuel, the air input needs to be adjust to optimize fuel combustion and reduce CO or smoke.

Review of Field Experience with BioDiesel Blends

Biodiesel blends have been used in the field for heating oil with some using B20 and above since 2005. Part of the study was reviewing customers that have been using B20 above. Of the surveyed providers, none reported a change of any burner or system components.

The report continues to talk about the levels of biofuel that was being used and the condition the fuel was in. Basically it was found that there was no difference from the standard petroleum only fuel.

Conclusion and results of BioDiesel study

  1. Fuels above a certain level of acid content can compromise seals, none of the bio blends reached this and they were statistically similar to petroleum only fuels.
  2. Long term cycling pump showed no leakages with biofuels.
  3. No impact on fuel stored in copper tubing at room temperature was found.
  4. No significant difference on fuel stored with copper at high temperatures and conventional No. 2 fuel.
  5. At higher than B50 concentrations it was found that the burner needed adjusted for best efficiency. B20 will operate at the same level as standard No. 2 fuel.
  6. Finally there appears no real difference in functional use of biofuel vs the use of No. 2 fuel.

So the good news, according to this report, is that if you want to use biodiesel up to B50 there appears no difference in settings or maintenance. As long as a reputable dealer that uses biodiesel that uses ASTM D675 for its B100.

Using biodiesel blends for heating oil reduces greenhouse gases. For more information on this see the NORA report.

B20 Biodiesel Heating oil provider

How to order biofuel as your home heating oil.

Every question Star Oilco has been asked about Heating Oil.

If you want to know a little it more about Bio-fuels and what feedstocks can be used.

 

Farm diesel and gasoline fueling delivery service 150 150 Star Oilco

Farm diesel and gasoline fueling delivery service

Fueling of a Farm Tank with a Star Oilco Truck.

Diesel and Gasoline Rural Fuel Delivery Service.

Fill your farm, nursery, or homestead fuel tanks now.

Now is the time to order gasoline or diesel for your rural operation.  In Oregon and Washington diesel and gasoline prices risen to a recent high.  Off-road diesel and farm gasoline prices in particular can benefit from a bulk delivery order before the upcoming hurricane season causes fuel price volatility.  Hurricane season usually spikes prices in the Pacific Northwest because they cause national petroleum supply interruptions going into Fall.  Get ahead of the need for fuel.

This is the time to fill your farm fuel tank.

If you have a bulk tank now is the time to order as we are seeing stable prices for diesel and gasoline in the Pacific Northwest.  Order your fuel now, and get a great price before the market changes.  Call us and discuss your need.   We are here to help and make keeping your equipment going when you need the fuel there without a hassle.

Rural Gasoline and Diesel delivery.

Agricultural fuels for farm use.

Call Star Oilco to keep your farm’s tank full.  Whether it’s a 100 to 500 gallons of gasoline and dyed diesel or a 25,000 order of B20 biodiesel.  We are there to serve you to make things easy.  With what is going on, you will not regret having plenty of fuel next to your barn at these market prices.

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Star Oilco is a locally owned Oregon business serving Willamette Valley farms and businesses since 1936.  Veteran owned, locally operated, and committed to your needs here in Oregon and Washington. 

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Please see these other posts if you are curious about off-road fuels:

If you have questions about Off Road or Dyed Diesel please see our FAQ

What you need to know about long term diesel storage 

How to fight “Humbug” growing in your diesel tank.

Oregon and Self-Serve Laws at the Pump 150 150 Star Oilco

Oregon and Self-Serve Laws at the Pump

Why can’t I pump my own gas in Oregon?

Why can't I pump my own gas in Oregon?

In Oregon there are self-serve and full-serve counties.  The more urbanized counties require an attendant serve you with gasoline.

(NOTE: If you operate a business in Oregon and want the ability to have commercial vehicles use a 24-7 card lock location here are the rules for getting a Pacific Pride or CFN cardlock card for self serve gasoline.) 

Oregon is one of only 2 states that has laws against people pumping their own gas (New Jersey is the other). Oregon first put these rules into place back in 1951. At this time, lawmakers decided that only trained service station workers should be able to pump their own gas. (More info here) This made more sense at that time, since most states had similar rules. Gas station pumps didn’t have all of the safety features they do today. Pumps were also more complicated than an average person was prepared to use. For context, if you were dialing long-distance on your phone during this time you would speak to an operator and someone would physically connect you.

Red Highlighted Counties are Full Serve and Green Counties allow Self Serve Gasoline in Oregon. 

Since 2015, some counties have allowed Oregonians to pump their own gas.

In 2015, Oregon relaxed some of the laws in 15 rural counties; those with less than 40,000 residents. From 6pm to 6am they allow self-serve at some fuel providers.  This allows these stations to stay open 24 hours a day.

In January 2018, this expanded to 24 hours a day for those locations that didn’t have a market or convenience store attached. (See list of counties here) The green areas in this map show where you can pump your own gas in Oregon. Although the coastal counties are limited to the 6pm to 6am times.

Covid-19 changed laws temporarily

On March 28th, 2020 to May 23rd, 2020 self-serve laws were temporarily changed. (source)  This change was to help stations with sick employees or ones that were worried about becoming sick.  Some stations opened up self-serve across the board, others allowed self-serve with attendants regularly cleaning contact surfaces between customers.  Most sites reduced hours of operation to cover the shortage of employees and reduced need for gas.

What is the punishment for pumping your own gas?

The Oregon State Fire Marshal (OSFM) is responsible for enforcing this rule and they can fine the gas stations that violate this up to $500. There is nothing in the Oregon State Statues that imposes a fine on customers that pump their own gas.

The likely consequences for someone self-pumping at a retail station, would result in a customer being trespassed from the premises.

With only 2 states still requiring a pump attendant the question remains: Why does Oregon not allow customers to pump their own gas?

There are officially 17 reasons that Oregon requires a pump attendant.  Read this article for more detail. These reasons can be condensed down to 3.

  1. Safety – As a class 1 flammable liquid, some basic safety procedures should be followed. Since a cashier can’t watch all the pumps all the time, trained attendants are there. This also allows people to reduce personal injury or exposure to the fumes. In addition, attendants are likely to notice safety issues on a vehicle such as a low tire or faulty windshield wipers and such report to the driver to keep them safe. The law specifically mentions the weather we have in Oregon as a safety reason: the risk of slipping in the rain. Supposedly, all these benefits reduces insurance liability to the service stations.
  2. Equable Treatment of Seniors & Disabled – A senior or a disabled person my find it harder to get out of their vehicle and perform the functions of pumping their gas. Because of this they would be forced to go to a full service station and pay a premium for this service, which isn’t equitable.
  3. Jobs – This is the most commonly cited reason for continuing to employ service station attendants and is part of the statue. The cost that an attendant incurs per gallon wasn’t considered to be excessive especially since Oregon doesn’t have a sales tax. As minimum wages increase, this may change.

It should also be noted that a large percentage of Oregonians enjoy having someone else pump their gas.

There are still ways in Oregon that residents in all counties can pump their own fuel.

 

Why a Star Oilco Pacific Pride RV Card?Diesel-Only Customers

Some retail stations allow customers to use the diesel pumps on their own. This can be spotty though.  If you would like a more consistent ability to fuel your own diesel vehicle you can apply for a fuel cards at CFN or Pacific Pride cardlock locations. Customers can use one of these locations with a card and pump their own fuel. These cards are diesel-only and require no minimum purchase per year.

Fueling at a CFN or Pacific Pride Card lock location is a great option if you’re fueling vehicles such as a diesel powered Recreational Vehicle (RV), motor home, or you’re driving a truck pulling a boat or trailer.

The larger lanes and less crowded locations can save a lot of time and potential accidents. Many cardlock locations even include bulk DEF. These stations are used by commercial vehicles with larger tanks and the fuel tends to be used faster.  As a result the fuel tends to be fresher at these locations as it cycles through more often.  Retail stations with low diesel volumes can see issues with fuel when it isn’t used as quickly.

Many cardlock locations also provide choice of fuel B20 (B20 stands for 20% biofuel) to the standard B5 that Oregon requires.  In addition, as renewable diesel begins to show up in Oregon the first fueling stations to likely see this fuel will be cardlocks.

Oregon has recently had legislation introduced that could change the type of diesel sold in Oregon.  For updates on this we suggest you visit this page:  Oregon Legislature proposes an end to petroleum diesel

 

Business Owners and Commercial Use Fuel

Get out of line - Use Pacific Pride and CFNThe primary way to access a commercial cardlock is if you’re a business owner. You also have to agree to can use 900 gallons of fuel in a year. You are eligible for a Pacific Pride and CFN commercial/corporate card that can include gasoline.

Some of the ways to prove you are a business owner are:

  • Federal ID #
  • Business License
  • Contractor’s License
  • Landscaping License
  • City Business License
  • Federal Income Tax Schedule C or F
  • Or any equivalent

For most locations the savings at the cardlock pump (you’re only paying your employee to pump gas, not the service stations employee) plus the time savings make these very attractive to small business owners and big business owners alike.

In addition, to the convenience that these company fuel cards bring, is that owners and managers can control how the cards are used and even when they can be used. (For more information click here).

For better or worse, Oregon continues to be one of the few places where most people aren’t allowed to pump their own gas. As technology advances and employees become more expensive things may change. But this is Oregon… who knows?

For more information or if you are curious about using a Pacific Pride or CFN cardlock location, feel free to let us know with a message below.

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Pacific Pride commercial fuel station
Why does a RV owner need a Pacific Pride or CFN Fuel Card? 646 223 Star Oilco

Why does a RV owner need a Pacific Pride or CFN Fuel Card?

Can a RV (Recreational Vehicle) owner get a Pacific Pride or CFN card?

 

 

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Pacific Pride Fuel Cards. Made with Commercial Trucks and large vehicles in mind. The easiest sites for RV access.

RV friendly refueling sites, wide lanes, high speed diesel pumps, 24 hour access, and no lines

Pacific Pride Fleet Card

Get out of diesel fuel lines and ensure control over what you buy.

Pacific Pride and CFN are the most secure and convenient diesel fuel cards on the market.

Summer is here and it’s time for traveling and camping. If you are pulling a trailer, driving an RV or simply in rural parts of Oregon and need access to diesel, it is time to get a fuel card.  24/7 access to fuel has never been more important.

Pacific Pride or CFN locations are available throughout the US and some parts of Canada. You can fill your RV or fifth wheeler at these locations. Unlike a truck stop, there are no passenger vehicles that can get in the way.

Even Oregon residents can use the self serve features if they have a Pacific Pride and CFN card.

If you are using solely diesel, commercial cardlock is available to everyone and everywhere in Oregon. Self-serve diesel is already legal in Oregon and often cheaper at a commercial cardlock throughout Oregon. Self-serve gasoline is allowed in several rural counties in Oregon outside of the I-5 corridor. Self-serve gasoline in the more populated parts of Oregon requires a business use as described below.

In addition, Pacific Pride and CFN are found throughout the United States and offer safe and convenient fueling stations for larger vehicles.

Why a Star Oilco Pacific Pride RV Card?

Why is a Commercial site better?

Commercial sites offer several benefits.

  • Open 24/7: If you are starting out early in the morning or driving through the night, the sites are open all days. Because the sites are self-serve, they will be open each day of the week and on holidays.
  • Ease of access: Commercial sites are built with large vehicles in mind. Entrances, exits and turns are all built for vehicles with a large turning radius in mind.  Make your in, out, and turn around far less vexing.
  • No lines: Commercial customers are fewer and higher volume. Get out of the retail gas lines by fueling at a commercial site. The people using these pump get in, fill-up and leave. There is no wait for a gas attendant to finish the other 6 cars.
  • Avoid inattentive drivers: Passenger vehicles don’t always understand the stopping and turning radius that bigger vehicles need. One small fender-bender can cause thousands of dollars in repair bills and insurance premium.
  • Fast Flow Diesel: The pumps are made for vehicles that need a lot of fuel. They flow faster than the small gas stations. If you want to get back on the road, you won’t need to spend a lot of time filling your tank. Fuel at these locations are fresh and cycled continually.  You’ll get fresher fuel in these locations.

What are the rules for using Commercial Cardlock in Oregon?

  • Business usage is required for gasoline cardlock fleetcard use in the more urban parts of Oregon (not any other state).  In self-serve Oregon counties, as well as out of Oregon, Pacific Pride cards are available for use by anyone.
    • Oregon Counties that allow self serve gasoline are: Baker, Clatsop, Crook, Curry, Gilliam, Grant, Harney, Hood River, Jefferson, Lake, Malheur, Morrow, Sherman, Tillamook, Union, Wallowa, Wasco, and Wheeler.
    • The counties not along the I-5 Corridor
  • If you are using solely diesel, commercial cardlock is available to everyone, everywhere in Oregon (individuals and businesses) and the US.
  • To access gasoline at cardlock in Oregon, you must be able to prove that you use over 900 gallons of fuel a year.
  • To access gasoline at cardlock in Oregon, someone in your business must also take a Oregon Fire Marshall Safety Test.
    • NOTE: Message Star Oilco below for a copy of the Oregon Fire Marshall Safety Test.

Self Serve and Full Serve by law counties in Oregon

For more information about Self-Serve in Oregon go here.

Are there many gas stations available?

We can provide you both a Pacific Pride and CFN cards (two networks that are very similar). We can secure the card to only work at commercial sites if you want or a widespread network of retail and commercial sites. Pacific Pride cards are accepted at Chevron, Texaco, Pilot, Loves, Sinclair and other retail stations if you want that convenience.  This gives you over 57,000 stations that you can fill at.  Easy to use websites or even a mobile app can help you find these locations.

 

Pacific Pride Fuel Network Graphic

Find the Pacific Pride Locator here.

Find the CFN Locator here. 

What does a Star Oilco Pacific Pride or CFN card cost?

If you’re a diesel-only customer, there is a yearly $20 fee that covers this. If you use more than 900 gallons in a year, this fee is cut in half. To be able to pump at a commercial gas pump in Oregon requires a fire safety audit.

Additional Benefits

Safe and secure card: PIN-secured fuel cards are a huge feature to reduce exposure to fuel theft. We can even have multiple PINs for your card so each person you authorize to use the card are tracked when they fuel. Like a Prepaid Visa or Mastercard, Star Oilco’s fuel card programs control transactions per day, time of day or by zip code and you can add other restrictions for use, such as an e-receipt, to provide a real-time alert every time a card is used.

Easy Billing: Twice a month you will be billed for the gas you purchased. Emailed or mailed directly to you.

E-Receipts available: Get real time Emails anytime your card is used,  If you let multiple people use your fuel card you will know where it was fueled and when, our card can provide an email receipt every time the card is used. Know in real time if someone is using your fuel card.

Downloadable apps: Both CFN and Pacific Pride have location finder apps that lets you know where the closest self-serve station is.

Fresh Fuel: Like truck stops the fuel is constantly being used here. Rural Gas stations can have diesel sitting in tanks for extended amounts of time, without treatment this fuel can hurt your engine.

 

If you have questions about Pacific Pride or other cardlock systems please don’t hesitate to contact Star Oilco. We have a long tradition of making cardlock easy for businesses large and small. In particular, we specialize in helping you secure fuel usage to eliminate fuel theft and reduce any chance or opportunity for thieves.

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