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Biodiesel

Star Oilco Speaks On Decarbonizing Heavy Duty Trucks 1000 667 Star Oilco

Star Oilco Speaks On Decarbonizing Heavy Duty Trucks

Decarbonizing Heavy Duty Fleets By Using B99 Biodiesel.

Mark Fitz joined the Clean Cities Coalition Mindful Mobility Tech Talk series for their High GHG Reductions webinar to speak on the benefits of B99 and how fleets can begin decarbonizing their emissions today!
On September 28th, 2022, three representatives were invited to speak on how they are not only saving large amounts of energy but are also having a big impact on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

B99 Biodiesel reduces CO2 footprint of a 105,500 GVW truck and trailer by more than half at a lower cost than petroleum diesel.
How Can I Utilize B99 or B100 in My Own Fleet?

Star Oilco uses The Vector System developed by Pittsburgh-based Optimus Technologies. The Vector System is the only EPA-compliant biodiesel engine system and upgrades any medium or heavy-duty engine to operate on 100% biodiesel. It can be installed in as little as 12 hours. Learn more about The Vector System by contacting Optimus Technologies here directly or by reaching out to Star Oilco locally.

Star Oilco’s Field Test

Star Oilco has fielded the Optimus Technologies system on our 105,500 GVW truck and trailers.  Star Oilco began with a single Freighliner truck and trailer operating a Cummins ISX as a trial.  This truck’s typical route was approximately 305 miles round trip from Portland, Oregon to Grays Harbor, Washington.  This run is from Star Oilco in Portland, Oregon to the Grays Harbor REG Biodiesel plant and back to the Portland terminals for delivery of this product.

Over the last year and a half this truck has performed amazingly well, the only maintenance concern is swapping the fuel filters more regularly with every oil change.  Mileage and power difference are negligible as noticed by drivers or our Elog system.  On a few occasions a loss of power was experienced requiring an in between service fuel filter swap.

Follow the links below for more information on B99 Biodiesel and Star Oilco’s field test of the Optimus Technologies System:

B99 Biodiesel As A Heavy Duty Fuel

Biodiesel As A Heavy Duty Low Co2 Solution

This event is part of the Columbia Willamette Clean Cities Coalition’s Mindful Mobility Tech Talk series.  A series designed to educate and expand on the evolving trends in fleet technology relevant to fleets seeking to decarbonize their miles travelled.

If you missed this event and would like to see the slides follow this link.

Biodiesel as a Heavy Duty Low CO2 Solution 700 394 Star Oilco

Biodiesel as a Heavy Duty Low CO2 Solution

Save money with Low CO2 Biodiesel in your heavy duty fleet.

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In Oregon the state ensures there is a cost associated with the CO2 intensity of a fuel.  This is why Biodiesel is consistently lower cost than petroleum Diesel fuels on the West Coast.  Get ahead of this curve and ensure your fleet benefits.


Why B99 Biodiesel was used in the past?

Prior to 2007 emission systems on modern diesels B99 Biodiesel was commonly used by fleets.  The fact that Biodiesel is a domestic, renewable and low CO2 fuel with a benign tail pipe emission made it popular.  B99 was the preferred fuel of dozens of fleets in the Pacific NW.  After the EPA requirements starting in 2007 which added particulate traps, SCR, their dosing systems, and the general complexity of these clean diesel systems on modern diesels, B99 became problematic.  Specifically the Tier 3 and Tier 4 diesel emission systems had a habit of choking on high blends of Biodiesel approaching B99.  This issue has been solved by Optimus Technologies Vector System.

Why B99 Biodiesel is the solution for Heavy Duty Diesel fleets seeking a Low CO2 solution today?

The Optimus Technologies Vector System provides the solution by enabling two tanks of fuel.  One tank dedicated to the diesel or R99 Renewable Diesel and the other tank dedicated to B100 or B99 pure Biodiesel. These systems optimize the systems of your modern Diesel fleet while also optimizing the performance and realities of the emission systems.

Star Oilco at the National Biodiesel Conference in Las Vegas

Mark Fitz, the President of Star Oilco, was invited to speak in front of a bunch of soy bean farmers on the subject of decarbonizing Heavy Duty diesel fleets.  Below is a walk through of his view on where diesel fleets can go to cut their CO2 emission in half or more today. NOTE: Mark Fitz’s portion begins at 18 minutes.

 

Please reach out to Star Oilco if you have further questions about using B99 or other blends of Biodiesel to reduce your fleet’s operating cost while cutting CO2 emissions in half.

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Every Question we have been asked about Renewable Diesel
Every Question We Have Been Asked About Renewable Diesel 700 700 Star Oilco

Every Question We Have Been Asked About Renewable Diesel

Renewable Diesel Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Every Question we have been asked about Renewable Diesel

What is renewable diesel?

Renewable diesel is a synthetic diesel fuel, known for it’s lower CO2 characteristics, typically seeing purity and real world performance response superior to petroleum diesel fuel.  Renewable diesel is a next generation hydrocarbon diesel biofuel made by either the Fischer-Tropsch or Hydrogenation processes.

Hydrogenated renewable diesel is made by taking fats, oils, and greases by use of a hydro-treater.  The biomass based oil or fat is cracked and reformed in the presence of hydrogen and  catalyst forming a hydrocarbon diesel molecule.

Fischer-Tropsch renewable diesel is used by converting any btu dense feedstock (wood waste, woody biomass, municipal garbage, coal, and an endless list of low value waste products into syngas, then converting this into a wax that is reformed into hydrocarbon diesel.

Why do people use renewable diesel over petroleum diesel?

Fleet managers operating R99 Renewable Diesel report a lower mechanical cost of operation using the fuel.  Beyond the immediate benefit of R99 cutting CO2 emissions by half or more, fleets experience performance benefits from the fuel.  Anecdotally the big savings are seen the the performance of Tier 4 Emission systems on modern diesel seeing far less wear of the Diesel Particulate Filter system as well as far fewer regenerations of the system.  Additionally Renewable Diesel is a very clean and dry diesel fuel improving the storage stability, field operation, and general predictability of the fuel’s performance.

What is renewable diesel made of?

Renewable diesel can be made from a host of things, usually a low value waste product. The most common feedstock used currently is waste vegetable oil, wastes from animal rendering, and other biologically derived oils. Processes using bio-oils are following a Hydrogenation process to turn low value waste oils into high value diesel and jet fuel.

Renewable Energy Group and Diamond Green Diesel (Diamond Green is in a joint venture with Valero) are the largest producer of renewable diesel with their REG Ultra Clean Diesel product in the United States. Neste is the largest producer of renewable diesel internationally, with its “Neste My” product.  being the two largest producers of low CO2 bio-oil derived renewable diesel fuels.  There are quite a few newer Renewable Diesel projects coming on line around the United States as well as in the Pacific Northwest.

Other refiners of renewable diesel (on a much smaller scale of production) are using a Fischer-Tropsch process with wood waste, sorted higher grade municipal garbage, and other high btu value carbon based waste products.  Many expect this to technology to be the future of all diesel and jet fuel refining turning refuse into fungible low carbon fuel.

What is renewable hydrocarbon diesel?

Renewable hydrocarbon diesel is a synthetic diesel fuel made from non-petroleum feedstocks like vegetable oil, animal fats, municipal waste, agricultural biomass, and woody biomass. It is characterized by having a low CO2 and renewable resource for its feedstock and is made without crude petroleum, coal, or natural gas as a direct feedstock input in the refining process.

How do they make renewable diesel?

Renewable diesel is made by several processes. If you are buying renewable diesel, it is probably from a Hydrogenation process used by Renewable Energy Group and Neste for their products. Other smaller volume producers are using a Fischer-Tropsch process or Fast Pyrolysis. Both processes involve taking energy dense molecules, cracking those molecules under heat and pressure, then reforming them in the presence of a catalyst and added hydrogen, which forms a renewable diesel molecule.

Is renewable diesel a lower carbon fuel compared to petroleum diesel?

Yes, to this point all renewable diesel made from renewable feedstocks have appeared to be a lower CO2 fuel compared to petroleum diesels. The California Air Research Board in particular has done research on this in depth.

The low CO2 lifecycle emissions of Renewable Diesel also is tracked closely and supervised by California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard and Oregon’s Clean Fuels Program. The highest value markets for low CO2 fuels in the United States are California and Oregon, which both have mechanisms that track and price the CO2 intensity of diesel fuels as well as the sustainable lower CO2 substitutes and blend-stocks that can go in those diesels. They track, rate, and determine the carbon intensity of the fuels providing a neutral and scientifically defensible number for CO2 reduction.

Is renewable diesel available in Oregon?

Renewable diesel is readily available for delivery from Star Oilco throughout the Pacific Northwest via 10,000 gallon volumes of bulk delivery.   Star Oilco is also offering bulk delivery of any size and mobile onsite fueling service within 100 miles of the Portland, Oregon market.

Star Oilco has R99 Renewable Diesel available with a Star Oilco CFN Cardlock card in Portland, Oregon.

What is the difference between biodiesel and renewable diesel?

Biodiesel and renewable diesel are very different fuels made with very different processes. In a nutshell, biodiesel is made with a simple chemical reaction that turns vegetable and animal fats into fuel. Renewable diesel is made from far more complicated process where vegetable and animal fats (as well as other feedstocks) are cracked on a molecular level and built back into synthetic diesel fuel.

What is the difference between renewable diesel and Sustainable Aviation Fuel?

The difference between the fuels is the specific gravity and general specification for what the fuel is used for. Jet fuel, or Sustainable Aviation Fuel, and on-road diesel fuel are different fuels and therefore have different specifications. Renewable diesel is typically referring to a #2 diesel specification for on road diesel use.

Sustainable Aviation Fuel or “SAF” is typically referring to “Jet A” or “JP8” jet fuel specification for fuel. This is a #1 diesel range fuel with use and handling requirements that are far more stringent than for on-road or off-road diesel fuels. Renewable jet fuel can be used as a kerosene or #1 diesel fuel but renewable diesel cannot be used as a jet fuel.

Where do I buy renewable diesel in Oregon or Washington?

Renewable Diesel is currently available for bulk delivery and mobile onsite fueling. It will soon be offered at commercial cardlock in the Portland area. It is being sold as R99 and as Ultra Clean Diesel, which is a mixture of biodiesel, renewable diesel, and petroleum diesel.

What is R99?

R99 stands for 99% renewable diesel and 1% petroleum diesel.  Federal rules over alternative diesel fuels made fuels requires that manufacturers of non-petroleum derived diesel fuels must blend a minimum 1% petroleum with the fuel to generate a Renewable Industry Number or “RIN” under the US Federal Renewable Fuel Standard. Additionally there are other incentives that require a “blender of record” to receive these tax credits.

Is renewable diesel being made in Oregon?

As of Spring 2022, renewable diesel is not being manufactured in Oregon. There are two major projects underway: Red Rock Biofuels in Lakeview, Oregon and Next Renewable Fuels in Port Westward, Oregon.

Red Rock Biofuels is focused on making renewable jet fuel, which is expected to be completed and in operation sometime in 2019. Next Renewable Fuels does not have a disclosed completion date.

Is renewable diesel being made in Washington state?

BP and Phillips 66 have Renewable Diesel projects under permitting or construction in Washington state.  BP’s Blain, Washington refinery and Phillips 66 Ferndale, Washington refinery are where these developments are taking place. These projects are added to existing petroleum refineries as a strategy of lowering the CO2 content of the refined diesel fuels from their plants.

What is renewable diesel made from?

Renewable diesel can be made from many energy dense carbon based material.  By volume of produced product sold in the United States, vegetable oils and animal fat-based wastes are the most common feedstock. Woody biomass, agricultural wastes, and sorted municipal wastes are also sources for renewable diesel production.

Is renewable diesel made from palm oil?

Palm oil can be used as a feedstock for renewable diesel. There are producers who use palm oil as a feedstock. In the United States, feedstocks and carbon intensity are tracked closely under both Oregon and California’s fuel programs.  You can determine if a supplier is using palm oil as a feedstock through these regulated pathways.

How much does renewable diesel cost?

This is a tough question to answer given there are several markets intersecting.  From the feedstocks to the market demand for the finished product as well as both California and Oregon’s Clean Fuel Standards which place a price on the CO2 intensity of the fuel which reduces the cost of the fuel if consumed in Oregon and California.

It has consistently been trending between the same cost and over $1 a gallon higher than petroleum diesel depending on the state, you buy renewable diesel in. In California, renewable diesel is very close to petroleum diesel depending on the value of CO2 credits for lower-carbon fuels. In Oregon, it has consistently been between $.05 to $.80 a gallon higher than diesel also depending on the value of CO2 abatement associated with the fuel and what these carbon credits are trading for.

When petroleum diesel costs are high Renewable Diesel tends to be more competitive with petroleum diesel.  When petroleum diesel is below $3 a gallon the cost of Renewable Diesel by comparison is usually higher unless CO2 credits are in higher than normal demand for Clean Fuels Program demands.

Can you mix petroleum diesel and renewable diesel?

Yes. Renewable diesel and petroleum diesel can be blended in any mixture without worry. They are drop-in substitutes for each other in your fleet’s use.  Renewable Diesel is a drop-in fuel. It is a hydrocarbon diesel that will work mixed with diesel or biodiesel blends of petroleum diesel.

More questions coming… or if you would like to learn more contact us.

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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.

Tank Testing Form

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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)

What is Heating Oil? 150 150 Star Oilco

What is Heating Oil?

In the Pacific Northwest heating oil is diesel.

Star Po;cp Crest

New heating oil customers often ask us, “What is heating oil?” Heating oil is diesel fuel and there are several grades and types. For Star Oilco our standard heating oil product is a ultra low sulfur diesel with a 5% biodiesel blend in order to meet Oregon mandates for off-road diesel fuel. That way our heating oil trucks can also serve construction fueling, emergency back up generators, and other common off-road diesel uses.

Star Oilco has a simple Heating Oil FAQ available.

For full on fuel nerds though, check out this more in depth deeper technical dive below.  If we leave anything out please don’t hesitate to ask for those seeking a nerd-level understanding of heating oil, kerosene and bioheat.

There are three typically grades of heating oil you can order.

Number 1 Diesel

Number 1 diesel is also called Kerosene or Stove Oil. This fuel has a lighter specification than typical heating oil which enables it to burn better in a “pot burner” or wick heater. Kerosene has its own specification as the fuel used by wick heaters. Kerosene is typically Number 1 diesel but not all Number 1 diesel’s are kerosene due to the need to be taken up by a wick heater. Any biodiesel content in a kerosene product WILL NOT work in a wick kerosene heater. So be very aware of confirming that your kerosene has never come into any contact with a biodiesel blend of fuel.

Red Number 2 Diesel

Red dyed diesel also called Heating Oil, Dyed Diesel, Off-Road Diesel is the default heating oil fuel. The fuel is dyed red to denote no on-road fuel taxes are attached to it. When you call and ask for heating oil, this is the fuel you are requesting. Clear or Green Number 2 Diesel is the fuel sold at retail gas stations and truck stops. That fuel will also work in your furnace, you just are paying for on-road taxes attached to that fuel.

Bioheat or Biodiesel Heating Oil

“Bioheat” is a blend of biodiesel and petroleum diesel to make a lower emission and lower CO2 heating fuel.  Typically Bioheat is Number 2 Heating Oil with a 20% blend of biodiesel or higher in it. It is a drop-in fuel for your heating oil furnace. There is no change other than routine maintenance is required. It is a cleaner burning fuel with a significant drop in CO2 emissions associated with your heating oil fuel consumption.  If you would like more information on biodiesel as a heating oil you can follow this link.

B20 Biodiesel Heating oil provider

Where do heating oil companies get their fuel?

In the Portland, Oregon market, diesel is fungible. Everyone buys or is expected to mix their fuel from each other in some way. Primarily this is due to the Portland/Vancouver market receiving most of its fuel down the Kinder Morgan-operated Olympic Pipeline, which means all the refiners transporting fuel are mixing their product in transit. Additionally, there are shared terminal locations, which also have co-mingled owned diesel products. Every refiner is typically expecting to mix their diesel and gasoline products. The difference is in the care a vendor takes to filter the fuel, using additives and continuously check their fuel quality. If you are buying at the absolute lowest price possible, know that there is an incentive to skip any added value of quality assurance.

Star Oilco buys our diesel products from a variety of vendors. The source refiner typically being either BP, Shell, Marathon(formerly Tesoro), Phillip 66, or a number of other refiners.

Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington are not unique in in having fungible diesel and heating oil fuel specifications. Through its Pacific Operations unit, Kinder Morgan operates approximately 3,000 miles of refined products pipeline that serves Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington and Texas. With roots dating back to 1956, it is the largest products pipeline in the Western U.S., transporting more than one million barrels per day of gasoline, jet fuel and diesel fuel to our customers. The company-owned terminals also provide additional services, such as liquid petroleum product storage and loading facilities for delivery trucks.

The heating oil and biofuel blends Star Oilco sells its customers

Heating oil is essentially off-road diesel. You can legally use a higher sulfur content for boilers and heating systems than you can off-road equipment and back-up generators. Regardless, we sell the lowest sulfur fuel available and optimize our fuel to be as versatile to our customers as possible. Construction equipment, back up generators and a host of others systems use off-road diesel, as do heating oil systems. Star Oilco sells the same diesel fuel specification for all of our off-road uses. We also blend this fuel with biodiesel for our customers that want higher blends of low CO2 biodiesel fuels and heating oil. Star Oilco carries nothing but ultra low sulfur diesel fuels. In fact, our minimum blend of biodiesel is a B5 biodiesel blend (5% biodiesel and 95% petroleum diesel) and we also offer B20 (20% biodiesel blend) and B99 (99% pure biodiesel) for our customers.

About Diesel Fuels Specifications 

In the United States, diesel fuel is controlled according the American Society for Testing and Materials Standard D975-97. This standard describes a limited number of properties that diesel fuels must meet. It should be noted that the requirements are all performance-based, meaning they do not mandate the composition of the fuel, only the specific performance related requirements demanded of a fuel for a diesel engine. The requirements of D975 are described below.

ASTM Specifications for Diesel Fuel Oils (D975)*

*More info on ASTM specifications

Diesel fuel is characterized in the United States by the ASTM standard D975, which identifies five grades of diesel fuel. We are only going to talk about the two most popular commercially diesel fuel used — No 1 and No. 2 diesel. The ASTM D975 standard is made up of a series of different tests that check the characteristic ranges of a fuel to confirm it is adequate to operate in your equipment. In simple terms, they are checking for specific gravity, the vapor point (when it turns into a gas), the flash point (when it catches fire), the dirt content, water content (how much microscopic entrained water) and a host of other requirements diesel must meet in order to be legal to be sold for use in your engine.

Grade No. 1-D and Ultra-Low Sulfur 1-D:

This is a light distillate fuel for applications requiring a higher volatility fuel to accommodate rapidly fluctuating loads and speeds, as in light trucks and buses. The specification for this grade of diesel fuel overlaps with kerosene and jet fuel, and all three are commonly produced from the same base stock. One major use for No. 1-D diesel fuel is to blend with No. 2-D during winter to provide improved cold flow properties. Ultra-low sulfur fuel is required for on-highway use with sulfur level < 0.05%. 

Grade No. 2-D and Ultra-Low Sulfur 2-D:

This is a middle- or mid-grade distillate fuel for applications that do not require a high volatility fuel. Typical applications include high-speed engines that operate for sustained periods at high load. Ultra-low sulfur fuel is required for on-highway use with sulfur level < 0.05%.

Biodiesel Fuels for Heating Oil

Biodiesel is a renewable fuel produced from oil seed crops, used cooking oil, and/or animal fat waste. It is chemically similar to petroleum diesel, and is produced by combining the oil stock with catalysts and then heating it. Biodiesel is not the same as vegetable oil or SVO (straight vegetable oil). Biodiesel can be used in any diesel engine. Biodiesel and biodiesel blends significantly reduce tailpipe emissions, especially carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and particulates (black smoke). ASTM D975 standard, as of 2008, allowed up to 5 percent biodiesel to be blended into the fuel. This is the called B5 — the ‘B’ stands for biodiesel and 5 stands for up to 5 percent biodiesel.

B6 to B20 – ASTM D7467-17:

Diesel blends up to 20% and more than 6% are referred to as B20. Biodiesel is a cleaner burning fuel than petroleum diesel. Using biodiesel can help reduce the amount of harmful emissions released into the air, including sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and other compounds found in diesel exhaust. Read the ASTM D7467-17 standards.

B99 & B100 –  ASTM D6751-15ce1:

These are fuels made of up to 100% biodiesel. Due to environmental regulations, most retailers will carry a maximum of B99. The standards for B99 and B100 are identical. Unlike gasoline, diesel can gel at cold temperatures, which can cause stress on fuel pumps and fuel injection systems, or can clog filters or even become too thick to pump to the engine. B99 has a higher temperature gel rate – meaning that it begins to cloud and thicken at higher temperatures – than conventional diesel. “The cloud point of soybean biodiesel is about 34°F (1°C), whereas the cloud point for No. 1 diesel is about – 40°F (-40°C) and for No. 2 diesel between -18°F (-28°C) and +20°F (-7°C).” (Biodiesel Cloud Point and Cold Weather Issues) The solutions for cold weather involve additives and lower blends to ensure continuous operations. Read the ASTM D6751-15ce1 standards.

FURTHER READING ON DIESEL FUEL:

For a question and answer format about heating oil please see: Every question Star Oilco has been asked about Heating Oil

Here is an article about: an In-depth look at Biodiesel as a heating fuel 

Read about Star Oilco’s approach to Fuel Quality Assurance: Star Oilco – Precision Fuel Management

Read about dealing with biological growth in your diesel tank: Bioguard Plus 6 biocide treatment for diesel

Get Chevron’s Technical Manual to Diesel Fuel (essentially an easy to read text book on diesel): Chevron’s Fuel Technical Review

Get a white paper from Donaldson Filtration on tier 4 engines and fuel cleanliness: Donaldson on Tier 4 Engine Fuel Contamination

Read more about Donaldson Desiccant Breathers for bulk diesel tanks: Why use a Donaldson Desiccant Breather for a bulk diesel storage tank.

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.

What Do I Need to Know About Long Term Diesel Storage? 150 150 Star Oilco

What Do I Need to Know About Long Term Diesel Storage?

Here’s good advice if you are relying on diesel as a back up fuel in the Pacific NW.

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Now is the time to refill and treat your back up fuel tanks.

Diesel as a back up fuel

Quite a bit of our business at Star Oilco is fueling back-up generators, emergency water pumps, refrigerated trailers and other long term off-road diesel storage requirements. In the Pacific Northwest, biodiesel blending is required by state laws and you need to take an extra duty of care when storing diesel as a back-up fuel.

This means that most off-road diesels and heating oils are ultra low sulfur diesel containing a small quantity of biodiesel.  That means long term storage requires a proactive approach.  You can’t just hope and wait to see what the fuel begins to look after years of storage.

Technical advice from Government Fleet Magazine to help you with storing diesel fuel.

Here is an article from Government Fleet Magazine on the subject which runs through the specifics of long term storage and what causes fuel to degrade when stored.  Government Fleet Magazine – How to Maintain Stored Diesel Fuel.

Star Oilco has also worked up a PDF check list on how to verify if your fuel is in need of freshening or is still in emergency ready shape.  If you are a customer of ours, we will deliver a laminated card version to keep next to your back up generator. If you are not a customer (or outside of our service area) drop us a message below and we will gladly email you the PDF.

For our customers, we recommend that you check the tank bottom fuel quality on an annual basis to make sure the product looks good. If the tank has sat for years and is dark in color (good diesel is bright and transparent – you will notice if it is in bad shape), we recommend pumping the tank out at least partially and replacing with fresh fuel. Often you can also hugely improve the quality of the fuel by polishing the fuel. Polishing is when you circulate fuel from the bottom of the tank through a pump, filter repeatedly in order to remove any sediment or growth from the fuel, and then place this fuel back in the same tank.

Look at your fuel for a bright and clear color.

For stored fuel, you also want to make sure it is stabilized and contains a biocide. Stabilizers prevent the oxidation of the fuel and prevent the effect of metals like lead, copper and zinc, which can react and degrade fuel. For heating oil systems with a return line, for instance, the fuel is flowing through a copper line to the furnace and then back to the tank in a return line.

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.

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.

Tank Testing Form

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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)

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.

 

Emergency Back-Up Generator Fuel Quality Assurance 150 150 Star Oilco

Emergency Back-Up Generator Fuel Quality Assurance

Emergency Back Up Generator Diesel Fuel Quality

The fuel in your generator is the single most overlooked item in maintaining a back up generator.  Be prepared and know your back up generator diesel fuel quality is ready with these best practices.

When the power goes out, don’t let a decade old tank of diesel be your weak link.

 

Diesel Generator Fueling Service

As a provider of back up generator fueling services we know how critical fuel is in an emergency.

Back up generators are everywhere when you start looking for them.  Rarely needed but when a storm or disaster strikes their failure to fire will be extremely conspicuous. In the Pacific Northwest where resilience planning around a major subduction zone earthquake is a monthly subject of talk.  Back up diesel will be the only immediately power source after a quake.  Diesel generators are taking center stage for emergency preparedness, placing those who maintain them in some high level policy discussions.

Avoid a double emergency when the back up power isn’t there for your need by focusing on the diesel fuel quality.

The worst case scenario for fuel quality is water getting into your diesel fuel reservoir as well as biological growth occurring in that water logged diesel. If water is present in diesel, and that diesel is in a warm dark place, bacteria will start growing in your tank. So first preventive step is watch for water.  The most likely problem with fuel you will see is the fuel aging and degrading in place over years of not being used.  That can be addressed with your routine maintenance on the tank.

CIM-TEK water absorber

NOTE: To get a small amount of water or to ensure a dryer tank of fuel, CIM TEK makes a Tank Dryer which absorbs a small amount of water in a tank. Handy similar to adding a desiccant into a closet with a slight condensation issue. 

Back up power generator diesel fuel quality.

The big rule for storing back up generator fuel is to make sure the diesel you use is clean and dry.

First ensure you are testing the generator by running it once a month.  Move fuel through the system and ensure the generator is starting right up. Run the generator for a while to use up fuel and be prepared to order a regular top off when you get below 3/4th of a tank. When checking the fluids on the generator prior to start up see if the fuel filter has a visual transparent bottom where you can see what the fuel looks like there. If it looks like dirty fuel or there is evidence of water take notice.  After cycling the generator take a peek and make sure the fuel it’s pulling into the generator is bright (not dark and degraded).  If you are seeing any water (even a small drop) that is an indication of real concerns.

If you are using up half a tank a year and adding to it, the fuel quality will usually stay within specification.  If you have worries the easiest way is to just start over. With older generators sometimes it’s a good idea to just evacuate the tank (empty all the older diesel fuel) and replace it with fresh diesel treated and stabilized for long term storage.

Most back up generators are seeing routine annual maintenance where the mechanical needs of the equipment are walked through. If this is occurring ask for a bottom sample from the back up generators fuel tank. Also ask to see what the fuel in the bottom of the fuel filter (assuming they are changing that) would give an indication if problems might exist deep in the fuel tank.

Back Up Diesel Generator Fuel Service

Sampling and Onsite Testing of Fuel from Generator Diesel Tank:

  1. Pull sample from tank bottom
    1. Use a professional “Bacon-Bomb Sampler” (google it to see one) or a small fuel transfer pump available at any auto parts store.
  2. Visually inspect it by swirling it in a beaker or mason jar.
    • Look for water and dirt fall out as you swirl.  If you see a few drops of water form you’ve got a water problem. If you are seeing coffee ground type material in the fuel, that’s biological growth. If an algal or gunk type slime appears, that’s also biological growth.
    • If clear like cranberry juice and bright – your fuel is in good shape.  If a darker cherry color yet still clear, your fuel is aging and you should consider swapping or burning fuel off in the next year.
  3. If fuel is dark in color (showing that it is aging in the tank) you can send that sample to a lab to test it. You want to ensure you are confirming the following:
    • Oxidation Stability (or Accelerated Stability)
    • Water Content in PPM (under 50 PPM is what you want, under 100 PPM is not uncommon, and over 100 PPM there is probably water in the fuel and you want to pursue remedial action.)
    • Make sure the fuel testing lab you are using (your current fuel vendor should have a recommendation or do it for free for you) is checking for:
      • oxidative stability (if it’s aging out of specification),
      • biological growth (if bugs are growing in it),
      • water content (indicating a puddle someplace in the tank causing higher water content in the fuel) and,
      • dirt content of the fuel (if there is dirt, there is probably biological growth or some other problem).
  4. Set aside sample in a warm dark place for a month and check it for biological growth occurring which will confirm if you have fuel growing inside the tank.
    • How to test diesel for biological growth In-House:
      • Take your sample that appears to be in great condition and set it aside in a warm dark place for a month (day light kills most biological growth in fuel, though day light ages your diesel in other ways).
      • When you come back to look at the sample, if a film or layer of darker color is appearing in the fuel, this is biological growth occurring.
      • If you see nothing and want to experiment further, add a slight amount of water to this sample, shake it up, and put it back in a warm dark place.
      • When you check back if there is a a new layer of darker color on the surface of where the water contacts the fuel, that’s what grows in your tank.
      • If nothing grows, your fuel is safely stabilized for storage this year. Even if water is finding its way into your fuel tank, the fuel is safe and will be ready to start.
        • NOTE: Do not leave water in your tank, even if the fuel looks good. Eventually it will be a major problem and something will grow. If you are putting biocide in your tank regularly and their is an environment for growth, something resistant to that biocide will take root and you WILL NOT be able to get it out of the tank without serious effort.

NOTE: If you are curious to see a fuel lab analysis of the diesel this is an example.  This is a lab analysis from Hydrotex, Star Oilco’s premium diesel additive provider.  They are very supportive in testing everything we send them for quality assurance. 

 

Do you have questions about generator diesel fuel storage?

If you have questions about fuel storage, Star Oilco has answers.  Star Oilco does not do tank cleaning, we still will help you figure out what you need to do in order to have the result you need.

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For more on Diesel Fuel Quality Assurance please see these other Star Oilco articles:

Desiccant breathers, dry diesel, and keeping your diesel fuel clean.

Every question Star Oilco has been asked about dyed diesel.

Keep and make your diesel fuel cleaner. 

Bioguard Plus 6, Kill and prevent biological growth in your diesel fuel storage tank.