• 232 NE Middlefield Rd, Portland, OR 97211

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off road diesel

Jobsite Diesel Fueling
Diesel Loaner Tanks for Construction 700 525 Star Oilco

Diesel Loaner Tanks for Construction

WE LOAN DIESEL TANKS FOR CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS

DYED OFF ROAD DIESEL FUELING SERVICE BY STAR OILCO

Wethose Fueling for Construction

If you need diesel, kerosene, gasoline, biodiesel, or renewable diesel in bulk or as a wet-hose fueling service, we are ready for your project.  We also deliver Diesel Exhaust Fluid on jobsites. We won’t let your generators go down.  Daily routes for diesel fueling in Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington. 

Star Oilco serves the whole Portland metro area included the ex-burbs.  Our routes deliver to Salem, Oregon as well as Longview and Kelso, Washington.

Call and ask for our Dispatch to set up service today at 503-283-1256.

Off Road Dyed Diesel Delivery

All-dyed construction and generator fuel delivered by Star Oilco is premium diesel treated with Hydrotex PowerKleen. Star Oilco’s premium diesel is stabilized for long-term storage for the total up-time needs of construction fueling. There is an additional treatment of fuel microbiocide to kill and prevent growth of bacteria/algae in your diesel. Star Oilco can add Valvtect BioGuard to your fuel to stabilize your fuel for long term storage upon request as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Construction season is here.

Star Oilco still has loaner tanks immediately available for your job site, project or temporary fleet needs.  Make life easier and keep your team working hard. Get ahead of the rush and reserve your UL142 double wall loaner tank now.

Just let us know if you need a 12V pump (powered by your equipment’s battery) or a 110V plug in pump with your equipment set up.

Star Oilco has both 550 gallon and 275 gallon tanks with 110% containment meeting UL 142 for your next construction project.  Star Oilco can provide larger tanks if arranged with notice beforehand.  Larger tanks available for longer term project if needed.  We also provide remote tank monitoring on these tanks. These tanks meet fire code in Oregon and Washington for construction refueling and provide temporary storage of fuel on an ever-changing construction job site. Oregon and Washington fire code allow temporary double wall tanks for construction projects where an active permit has been pulled and needs diesel to complete.

Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel is 15 PPM
Please also remember that ultra low sulfur diesel (ULSD) is the standard of off-road dyed fuel now as well. New off-road equipment will need ultra low sulfur diesel given the modern emission systems required.  This is a recent change.

If you are renting newer equipment, it will have a need for ULSD and Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF). You will need to ensure that any fuel on a jobsite running newer equipment with diesel after treatment is ultra low sulfur diesel fuel. If you are operating your own tanks as you receive newer equipment, you will want to flush the fuel to make sure you get all the higher sulfur fuels out of it. All equipment from Star Oilco is drained as well as flushed prior to deliver as part of our set up.

If you are a contractor, project manager, or need a temporary tank for on-site fuel, we can help. In cases where you need an auxiliary tank, transfer fuel tank, an emergency back-up fuel supply, or even a long-term rented loaner tank for specialized equipment, Star Oilco can solve problems for you. For long-term projects, we can also work to get cardlock and other novel tracking solutions to secure your on-site fuel needs. Give us a call, we are here to help.

Kick the Can Card

Call our Dispatch at 503-283-1256 or tell us what you need in the following Contact Form.

We have loaner tanks immediately available. Open an account and get started today.

 

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.

Do you need Refrigerated Trailer fuel? We fuel reefers automatically. 150 150 Star Oilco

Do you need Refrigerated Trailer fuel? We fuel reefers automatically.

Refrigerated Trailer Fueling Service

Holiday season is right around the corner and refrigerated trucks are starting to show up all over town, if you have one and you need fueling Star Oilco has drivers on the road ready to keep your overflow refrigerated trailers humming and your inventory cold.

Keep your refrigerated trailer running with our automatic keep full program.

Reefer trailer fuel service

Refrigerated trailers, often also called “reefers” in trucking, are a popular way for grocers, food processors, and many other industries to expand their refrigerated inventory during the food rush of the holidays.

Star Oilco, the Portland area’s leading refueler of refrigerated trailers, is ready and waiting to help you expand your inventory on hand without any trouble by supplying dyed diesel for your refrigerated trucks. We have the industry’s lowest price for service of $65 with  a flat charge for service on an automatic keep full schedule. We’ll keep your inventory the right temperature this holiday season! Our trucks are ready and on the road driving past your location. This program is designed specifically in response to grocers and food processors needing a partner to simplify their refrigeration needs during their busiest time of year.

We make it one less thing to worry about.

How often should you fuel your refrigeration trailer?

Reefer Trailers typically can run for two days without a refuel if opened only once or twice a day.  Three days if you go a weekend without opening the trailer if fueled on Friday.  If you have staff leaving the door open regularly expect to need fuel daily.

Call for service. We can set up a credit account or run the service on a credit card, fleet card, or other payment method used by your business. 

Star Oilco delivers either Ultra Low Sulfer B5 Diesel or B20 Biodiesel (20% biodiesel and 80% petroleum diesel) to your reefer. All fuels are dyed and for off-road use to avoid the expensive taxes associated with using clear diesel from a gas station pump. All of our dyed fuels are also treated with Hydrotex PowerKleen Premium Diesel, an additive that guarantees long-term storage stability and improved performance at time of combustion.

A refrigerated trailer typically burns between 10 and 15 gallons a day in the Portland area during the winter and we’ve found that the more you open the reefer’s door, the more fuel it burns. Some customers are able to get by with service twice a week. Given this experience, we usually recommend a refill schedule of three days a week to make sure you have no downtime or worry with the refrigerated trailer.

If you are on an automatic keep full schedule, we will also provide an emergency response in the event of a fuel theft at no additional charge. We will be there for you to make running your business that much easier.

Also remember if you are storing a trailer onsite for back up or overflow purposes you will want to prepare the fuel in the tank for long term storage. This is easily done with fuel additives Star Oilco can provide you to make sure your refrigerated trailer fires when you need it to.

To set up Refrigerated Trailer Refueling Service call or email our office.

We are ready to keep you full.

Construction equipment fuel delivery service

Message us below if you want to get a call back from our Dispatch about setting up service or call 503-283-1256 for immediate service.

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Dyed Off-Road Diesel
Every Question We Have Been Asked About Off-Road Diesel 700 700 Star Oilco

Every Question We Have Been Asked About Off-Road Diesel

Got questions about Red Dyed Diesel?  We have answers!

(If you do not see the answer you need, message or call Star Oilco.  We will gladly answer that too.)

Dyed Off-Road Diesel

What is red diesel?

Red Diesel is Off-road diesel, in the United States this fuel is denoted with a red dye. The dye marks this as fuel for off-road equipment and vehicles and as such it doesn’t have road fuel taxes included in the price.  This dye takes a great deal of clear fuel to dilute so it makes it very obvious if an on-road vehicle has been using off-road untaxed fuel. Tax authorities can and do check for vehicles using off-road red diesel in on-road vehicles. They do this by using a black light to spot any residual presence of dye in the fuel as well as at key places in the engine compartment.

What is green diesel?

On-road diesel is clear or slightly green. Refineries place a green dye into diesel fuel which is obvious if fuel is freshly dispensed into a bottle to observe its color. As fuel ages this dye fades to yellow or darker colors. Part of a visual observation to inspect diesel fuel quality is to check the fuel for a “bright” appearance with the slight green dye being a giveaway that the diesel is fresh and in good condition.

What is dyed diesel?

Nearly all diesel has dye in it. Typically when talking about dyed diesel, we’re referring to a red dye added to off-road diesel. Off-road diesel is normally used for heating oil, construction fueling, agricultural use, and other off-road equipment not used on the highway system where fuel taxes would be required by law.

What is farm diesel?

Farm or diesel for agricultural use is off-road diesel that is not charged on-road fuel taxes. Agricultural use fuel is a tax-exempt use of diesel fuel. If diesel is burned on a farm and can be tracked for such, taxes can be avoided. Farms are allowed to receive clear diesel without road taxes charged on it in Oregon. Often it is dyed red to denote it is tax free. In Oregon, where P.U.C. for trucks over 26,000 GVW pay a weight mile tax instead of a per gallon state road tax, some farms will track their use of clear diesel so they can file for Federal road taxes on off-road usage.

What color is dyed diesel?

All diesel sold in the United States typically has some dye in it. On-road diesel usually has a slight green tint to it. This is a dye added by either the refiner or terminal provider with the fuel. Off road diesels are dyed red to denote that the fuel is untaxed and is for use in off-road purposes only.

What is the red dye used to turn off-road diesel red?

Solvent Red 26 and Solvent Red 164 are the allowed dyes prescribed by the United States Internal Revenue Service for marking diesel as for un-taxed off-road use only.

Why is diesel dyed?

Diesel is dyed in order to denote if it has paid road tax or not. On-road diesel in the United States usually has a light green tint to it. Off-road diesel has a red dye to denote it has not paid road taxes as required by all states and the Federal government.

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

What is off-road diesel?

Off-road diesel is diesel fuel dyed red to show it is untaxed and available only for off-road fuel uses such as construction fueling, equipment never used on a public road, agricultural use, heating oil, boiler fuel, and other non-taxed diesel fuel uses under state and Federal fuel tax law. In Oregon, with proper paperwork, some off-road uses can buy on-road fuel with the Oregon state tax exemption.

Is dyed or off-road diesel flammable?

Off-road diesel is classified as a Class II combustible liquid by the National Fire Code. A flammable fuel is one with a flash point below 100 degrees F. Diesel’s flash point is between 126 and 205 degrees F (typically assumed to be about 160 degrees F).  That classifies it as a Class II combustible.

Is off-road diesel or dyed diesel high sulfur diesel?

Dyed diesel (or off-road diesel) can be high sulfur fuel. High sulfur diesel is defined as diesel fuel with over 500 parts per million of sulfur content.

Is off-road diesel or dyed diesel ultra-low sulfur diesel?

Off-road and dyed diesel fuels can be ultra-low sulfur but are not guaranteed to be. There has been a consistent push to reduce sulfur in all fuels in the United States as led by EPA regulation. In recent years, EPA standards require off-road construction and agricultural equipment to have an emissions system that allow ultra-low sulfur to operate without major problems. So today’s off-road diesel being delivered is ultra-low sulfur. If you have a tank with old stored dyed red diesel fuel in it, you can assume it has a higher than ultra-low sulfur content.

What is dyed ULSD fuel?

Dyed ULSD fuel is ultra-low sulfur diesel with a red dye in it to denote that it is for off-road or untaxed purposes only. These purposes are typically for heating oil, construction fuel, agricultural fuel, generator fuel or other off-road uses. The “ULSD” is an acronym for ultra-low sulfur diesel.

Is dyed diesel #1 or # 2 diesel?

Dyed diesel can be either #1 or #2 diesel. Both fuels require a red dye in them to confirm they are untaxed and cannot be used for on road fuels.

Why does the government require diesel be dyed red?

From a informational pamphlet from the US IRS on untaxed fuel:

“The federal government requires dyeing of untaxed diesel fuel and kerosene for two reasons. To help reduce tax evasion by identifying fuel on which excise taxes have not been paid, and to help reduce air pollution by identifying fuel not suitable for use in highway vehicles.”

Is dyed diesel and off-road diesel kerosene?

Dyed diesel and off-road diesel can be kerosene (which crosses as #1 diesel fuel), but not necessarily. Do not assume a dyed fuel is kerosene, which is a rarer fuel. Kerosene is different than #1 diesel for one characteristic: its confirmed ability to be absorbed and taken up by a wick. All kerosene is #1 diesel.  Not all #1 diesel fuels are kerosene. The same goes for dyed diesels and off-road fuels. All dyed kerosene is dyed and off-road diesel. Not all dyed fuel is kerosene.

Is dyed diesel and off-road diesel stove oil?

Yes, dyed diesel and off-road diesel are stove oil. Typically a #1 stove oil or #2 stove oil, similar to diesel. Historically stove oils had a slightly different set of specification concerns which is why they were called “stove oils” versus diesel. When petroleum refineries distilled crude oils to get diesel range fuels, it was less exact than it is today with hydrocracking technology. Today with both oil refinery technologies and the EPA emission regulations, the number of distillate range fuel specifications is far more consolidated in order to ensure compliance with EPA and state rules. If your heating appliance is demanding stove oil, it typically needs a #1 stove oil or #1 kerosene product. This product is expected to produce less soot and therefore to work better in a pot stove type of application. The most modern stove oil appliance in the U.S. are Monitor and Toyostove thermostatically controlled direct vent heaters.

Is off-road diesel bad for my truck?

Depends on the year of your truck, and we assume you mean red dyed diesel fuel.  First, using dyed diesel, off road diesel, or heating oil in an on-road vehicle is against the law.  If you are caught in Oregon the fine can be as big as $10,000 and the State of Oregon does aggressively pursue this type of tax avoidance.  Beyond the legal use of off-road fuel.  Typically on the west coast dyed diesel is ultra low sulfur diesel. Which means it will not cause maintenance issues if burned in your engine.  Dependent on the age of the dyed fuel, or if it is actually a heating oil, it might be high sulfur or low sulfur fuel. If you use that in a post 2007 engine with a particulate trap it will have serious maintenance issues if you use that fuel.

Is dyed diesel or off-road diesel heating oil?

Yes, dyed diesel and off-road diesel are acceptably used as heating oil. Dyed diesel and off-road diesel these days are typically ultra-low sulfur diesel. Heating oil can be low sulfur or high sulfur in content under EPA and most state laws. So heating oil sometimes cannot be dyed diesel (when used for off-road equipment or agricultural use) but dyed/off-road diesel can always be used for heating oil and conform to the necessary specification required by heating oil furnaces.

Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel is 15 PPM

Does off-road diesel have sulfur in it?

Yes! But in today’s ultra-low sulfur market, most off-road diesel is below 15 parts per million. If your equipment requires ultra-low sulfur diesel, it is a good practice to confirm that is what fuel you are getting. Some low sulfur diesel (under 500 parts per million sulfur fuel) and high sulfur diesel (over 500 parts per million sulfur) is still in the marketplace used by heating oil, boiler systems, locomotive, and marine applications.

Does off-road diesel freeze?

Off-road diesel gels at cold temperatures. At colder temperatures, wax crystals begin to form and fall out of the diesel, clogging filters and gelling up the fuel. Also, the water and naturally held-in diesel will ice up and obstruct filters. This phenomenon is called diesel gelling.

Does off-road diesel gel in cold weather?

All diesel fuels will gel if it gets cold enough. Both a formation of wax crystals and ice forming in your fuel will obstruct filters and take your equipment down. Rule of thumb: with no treatment your diesel fuel should operate without any issues above 20 degrees F. Below 20 degrees F, you will want to ensure your vendor is treating the fuel for winter use to ensure it will operate down to -20 degrees F.  If you are facing temperatures below that, you will want to confirm with your vendor that they are testing that fuel to operate below -20 degrees F.

Diesel Testing and Storage in Portland

Does off-road diesel go bad?

Off-road and dyed diesel do age and can go bad. All diesel fuels adhering to ASTM specification should be safe for storage up to a year without additional treatment and testing. If you are storing diesel for long term use, it is a good best practice to treat the fuel with a biocide and oxidative stabilizer to ensure that the fuel stays within specification and nothing will begin to grow in your fuel tank. The biggest enemy of long term diesel storage is water and dirt entering the fuel through a tank vent. As temperatures change a tank will breath pulling in air and moisture from outside. Ensuring there is no water in the tank and that outside contaminants can’t get into a tank are how keep your fuel within specification.

How long can I store off-road or dyed diesel in a fuel tank?

Untreated, you can assume that diesel fuel is good for a year. If treated with a biocide to prevent biological growth from growing in the tank, you can expect diesel to be good for two to three years. After two to three years, diesel begins to show age as it loses its brightness when sampled. After three years you will want to sample and test the fuel to ensure it is within specification for reliable use.

What is the difference between off-road diesel and on-road diesel?

Fuel taxes charged is the big difference between the two fuels. All on-road diesel is clear or greenish in color to denote it is both ultra-low sulfur diesel and the on-road fuel taxes associated with using it to power a highway vehicle have been paid. Dyed fuel means that fuel taxes are not paid and that the fuel can not be used to power a vehicle on a public road.

Oregon Diesel Taxes Explained

What are the fuel taxes on off-road diesel?

Fuel taxes vary by state and sometimes even local municipality. With off-road diesel, usually the only taxes to consider are sales taxes on the fuel. In Oregon there are no taxes on dyed off-road fuel. In Washington state there are sales taxes for dyed-diesel charged on top of the sale price of the fuel. (NOTE: If you use clear diesel in Washington state there is no sales tax as the road tax is being charged.)  If you are curious for a more in depth answer Star Oilco has a full explanation of Oregon Diesel Taxes (a unique system in the United States for local fuel tax collection of trucks over 26,000 GVW).

Do you pay sales tax on dyed diesel or off-road diesel in Washington state?

Yes. If you are consuming dyed diesel and are not paying for the on-road fuel taxes in Washington state, the sales tax is charged. If you use clear fuel with road taxes attached to the fuel, the sales tax is not charged. For more on Washington fuel taxes see the Washington Department of Revenue.

What are the taxes on dyed diesel or off-road diesel in Oregon state?

Your petroleum distributor has some small taxes (under $.01) attached to the fuel they buy at the wholesale terminal level. Those taxes being the U.S. EPA Superfund cleanup and the “LUST” or Leaking Underground Storage Tank cleanup fund. Beyond that, there are no taxes (Federal, state or local municipality) on fuel used for off-road diesel in Oregon state.

Is there a way to buy clear diesel without a road tax on it?

In Oregon you can buy clear fuel exempt of Oregon’s state road taxes. The qualifications for using clear diesel Oregon State tax exempt are the following:

  • vehicles issued a valid ODOT Motor Carrier permit or pass (weight receipt)
  • vehicles issued a valid Use Fuel User emblem by the ODOT Fuels Tax Group
  • vehicles registered to a US government agency, Oregon state agency, Oregon county or city, and displays a valid Oregon “E” plate
  • vehicles, or farm tractors/equipment only incidentally operated on the highway as defined in ORS 319.520
  • vehicles or equipment that are unlicensed and/or used exclusively on privately owned property

What happens if I use dyed diesel in an on-road vehicle?

If you get caught in Oregon, a $10,000 a day fine can be levied. We have seen fuel tax cheats get caught repeatedly so be aware Oregon is on the look out for any amount of dye in the saddle tank of an on-road vehicle. If the fuel you use is low sulfur or high sulfur fuel and your vehicle has a particulate trap, you will have maintenance issues with the emission system of your vehicle.

Can you use dyed diesel in a diesel pickup truck?

Only if that pickup is dedicated to an off-road use. If you plan to ever use that truck on a public road (even to cross a street), and dyed fuel is found in that vehicle, fines up to $10,000 per occurrence can (and are) levied by state regulators. If you have a closed facility or large farm and are not registering the vehicle for on-road use (so the pickup must not leave the site), you can use off-road diesel as the vehicle’s fuel. If you have license plates and it’s permitted for on-road use, any regulator spotting dyed fuel in that truck will presume it is an on-road pickup.

How does the government test if someone used dyed diesel?

Typically when checking for illegal use of dyed fuel, regulators will sample from the tank or spin the fuel filter and observe for obvious dyed fuel. If the fuel is clear (or even slightly pink) and they suspect dyed fuel was used in the vehicle, they can apply a special black light that will glow an obvious color denoting dyed fuel had been in contact with the vehicle. They will shine that light on the filter, fuel tanks, and various parts in the engine compartment that would have come into contact with the fuel. If those areas denote even a mild trace of the red-dye used in off-road diesel, they will cite the vehicle operator. There are kits sold online for filtering dye out of fuel to remove the color.  Those kits will not remove enough dye to avoid detection by these lights.

Why is off road diesel illegal for pick up trucks to use?

Off road diesel is dyed red to show that the on-road fuel taxes are not paid or that it is a tax-free fuel.  The Federal Government and State Government’s have fuel taxes for on-road fuel usage to help pay for the roads we all drive on.  If you are using diesel for a non-road equipment, machinery, or heating/boiler applications the fuel taxes are exempt and the fuel is dyed to ensure it’s tax free status is immediately seen.  Regulators in a road side or site level inspection can also shine a black light on specific places in a vehicles system to denote if dyed fuel is being used in violation of the law as well.

 

What is the difference between dyed diesel and heating oil?

In the Pacific Northwest at the current moment? Usually nothing. Heating oil is dyed diesel. Most petroleum distributors are selling the mainstream dyed diesel specification for use as heating oil in order to lower the overall cost of the fuel. There are different ASTM specifications for heating oil and dyed diesel dependent on the state you buy it in. Heating oil’s specification has wider tolerances than diesel specifications as furnaces and boilers can handle dirtier, lower quality fuels than off-road equipment with a particulate trap. Heating oil is always a diesel fuel, but sometimes dyed diesel for off-road equipment has a different specification than heating oil. For example, in Oregon a 5% biodiesel or 5% renewable diesel mandate exists for any dyed diesel fuel used in off-road equipment. This biofuel mandate exempts heating oil and boilers. So heating oil can be biodiesel free but off-road diesel for equipment cannot.

Can refrigerated trailers or “reefers” use dyed diesel even if they are attached to a truck moving it on the highway?

Yes, refrigerated trailers are off-road equipment. The diesel fueled refrigeration trailer is off-road equipment as its engine is not powering something actually driving down the road. These trailers can use any ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel (dyed or clear). If using on-road clear fuel in a refrigerated trailer, if you track and keep proof of the on-road fuel being used in the off-road piece of equipment, you can file for those fuel taxes back. Proof is required though so consult with your CPA or accountant.

How do I order off-road diesel for a construction project?

The first step is to set up an account with Star Oilco. It’s easy to pay through a simple credit application or by placing a credit card on the account. Oregon and Washington are highly regulated when it comes to fuels such as diesel. We need to account for who is ordering and getting fuel (yes, Oregon even checks sometimes as the DEQ tracks every gallon of diesel moving into the state). Determine if you want a loaner tank onsite or a keep-full service plan. Star Oilco will deliver bulk or wet hose fuel your job site on a regular schedule. We are here to make it as easy as possible for you to focus on your project, not fueling. Let us know what you want: we will keep it simple and make it easy for you.

How do I stop biological growth in my off-road diesel fuel tank?

If you are storing off-road or dyed diesel for longer than six months you will want to make sure it is stabalized. Star Oilco recommends Valvtect Plus Six as the fuel additive you want to use.  Our recommended fuel additive is a fuel microbiocide with stability additives made for diesel long term storage.  This kills and prevents the growth of biological “hum-bugs” in your tank.  Bacteria, yeast, and algae can grow in your fuel tank. Usually in a small amount of water that collects in the bottom of the fuel storage tank (be it the bulk tank you  fuel out of or the saddle tank on your equipment).

How do I get water out of my off-road diesel equipment’s fuel tank?

There are several ways to do this.  What you will want to do varies based on how much water and what it is in.  If you are dealing with a large bulk fuel tank you want to definitely pump the tank bottom to get the water out.  If you are seeing extreme biological activity (Hum-Bug growing in your tank) you want to do a kill dose treatment on that tank. It might not be a bad idea to also spend a few thousand dollars to have a professional tank cleaning company come in and manually clean the tank prior to adding the kill dose to kill anything growing in your tank.  If it’s the tank on your equipment usually the best route is to drain the tank, flush the tank, and also put a kill dose of  a fuel microbiocide to make sure nothing continues to grow.  If you want to talk to someone feel free to call Star Oilco, you do not need to be our customer for us to walk through some solutions you can do yourself.

Where can I buy Off-Road or Dyed Diesel?

There are a very few rural gas stations that provide this fuel.  Some Pacific Pride or CFN cardlock locations also have pump available for this fuel.  The easiest way to acquire this fuel is through a fuel company.  Star Oilco is one such company that can deliver dyed diesel for it’s customers, or provide cardlock cards for its customers.

Diesel storage tanks UL-2085 needed for modern Fire Code 150 150 Star Oilco

Diesel storage tanks UL-2085 needed for modern Fire Code

What is required to install a fuel tank in Oregon?

A Tank that meets International Fire Code is a 2 Hour Fire Guard labeled tank.

In recent years Oregon and Washington have been moving to International Fire Code as their adopted standard. Following California with this higher standard of safety as it relates to liquid fuels.  The new standards are far more involved in their construction and therefore their installation as well. Heavy and far more expensive is the most notable standard of a modern Fire Marshall approved tank.

UL 142 – Double Wall Tanks

The old standard for diesel storage was UL-142 (commonly referred to as double wall or “diked tanks” by fleet managers).  These tanks are still made and extremely common throughout the US. If you see one of these tanks for sale and it looks like a great deal it’s probably because of an upgrade requirement causing them to sell it.  Be aware to check code in your local jurisdiction. These tanks still have a wide market for use especially for agricultural zones as well as temporary use with construction sites.

UL 2085 – 2 Hour Fire Guard and Double Wall Tanks

The new standard for storing diesel for refueling vehicles is the UL-2085. This code has been around for gasoline, it is only new in the way that Fire Marshall’s and local municipalities will require it for diesel fuels.

This standard has been around for a long time but typically was used when storing gasoline or more flammable liquids. That standard now applies to diesel fuels as well if they are being installed to refuel equipment, trucks or any other service.  Its worth noting that boilers, HVAC oil furnaces, and other plumbed stationary applications can still use the UL-142 code. Similarly agricultural use in Oregon is allowed a UL-142 use in most applications.  But for fleet fueling even if only a 100 gallon tank the Fire Marshall’s new standard is the UL-2085 concrete lined fire guard tank. It is also worth noting that if you have an installed UL-142 tank in a commercial or industrial zoned property you probably are okay with grandfathered use. But if you want to change anything the Fire Marshall and local Code Enforcement are going to be looking at the newer and safer standard.

Ask your local Fire Marshall to be sure of what the requirements are.

When discussing diesel storage tank options with your local Fire Marshall it helps to see the reason they have the standards they demand. Also be aware of other requirements that local jurisdiction may have. For instance Portland, Oregon’s Bureau of Environmental Services will often demand a cover be placed over the fueling area, an engineered concrete pad beneath it, as well as a potential oil water separator.  Usually there can be an additional permit and process associated with a tank install to meet the needs of a local Fire Marshall as well.

Two hour fire guard or UL-2085 rated tanks are the new standard in Oregon as we have adopted the International Fire Code. and the picture below says a thousand words. It will protect your property from a lake of fire preventing your diesel fuel from feeding disaster.

This is a great picture of a tank being tested for a two hour fire rating by a vendor of Star Oilco’s. Its speaks to why and what is the concern of your local regulator.

Modern Weld Company is a tank manufacturer out of California that makes great tanks to order exactly perfect for your site.

As they make what you need to the specifications you need you can make the Fire Marshall, local City Code enforcement, and your CFO happy at the same time.  If you have questions about installing a bulk diesel fuel tank to either UL-142 or UL-2085 standards give Star Oilco a call. We can help you meet UL codes for diesel, gasoline, biodiesel, or other storage needs.

Oregon Diesel Fuel
Diesel Fuel in Portland, Oregon 530 530 Star Oilco

Diesel Fuel in Portland, Oregon

What is the difference between diesel fuel in Portland, Oregon and the rest of the Pacific Northwest?

Oregon Diesel Fuel

Star Oilco delivers and sells diesel fuel in Portland, Oregon.

We are ready for your diesel needs be they off-road, on-road, biodiesel, renewable diesel, or anything else you want.

Star Oilco has simple fuel solutions to keep your business moving.

On the West Coast, expect biodiesel blends to be in all diesel fuel. B5 biodiesel being the most commonly found fuel. Be aware though, in Oregon,  B20 biodiesel (a 20% blend of biodiesel mixed with petroleum diesel) is extremely common at retail throughout the state. B5 through B20 blends of biodiesel are becoming more common as Oregon’s legal framework regulates CO2 emissions requiring diesel sellers to blend biodiesel or charge substantially more for every gallon they sell.

On top of that, Oregon has a 5% biofuel blend mandate that can include a number of fuels, most commonly biodiesel and renewable diesel. Washington state also has a mandate for 5% biodiesel though it isn’t as specific as the Oregon mandate.

That’s Oregon Diesel. What about Portland?

The city of Portland has a stand-along city fuel tax due to its policy goals (which cause it to codify rules for low CO2 fuels and the sources of diesel in particular), as well as its own budget needs.

Portland, Oregon Diesel Fuel Mandates

A little known fact is that Portland, Oregon has its own biofuels mandate and fuel tax structure on diesel. This mandate affects all diesel equipment both on and off-road use. It does not affect boilers or HVAC systems though most people selling heating oil and boiler fuel are still handling a 5% biodiesel product to ensure they don’t cross fuel in violation of the law.

Functionally, the city of Portland’s mandate and Oregon’s specific mandate do not make a huge difference. Your biggest noticeable difference is the higher price due to the diesel fuel tax, given that Portland’s biofuel mandate now overlaps with Oregon state’s fuel mandates.

For more on the actual code for biofuel mandates in Portland, see the Portland City Code.

Until 2019, Portland had a 5% biodiesel “methylester” mandate. This meant that Portland mandated that all diesel fuel sold inside the city must contain 5% of biodiesel or sellers of fuel inside city limits would face a fine. For years, Portland actually checked every seller of diesel for a 5% biodiesel blend in person annually. This mandate also included feedstocks and did not allow for palm oil sourced biodiesel, as palm oil is responsible for a large amount of deforestation in Indonesia and other places. The Portland mandate required that half of all biodiesel blended to meet the 5% mandate must be derived from canola and waste vegetable oil sources, as Oregon can produce them.

In 2019, the city of Portland suddenly lined up their mandate to match the state of Oregon’s, which allows for renewable diesel to be used as a feedstock. Anything derived from palm is still a barred feedstock for the fuel to meet Portland mandate requirements (which is distinctly different than Oregon’s biofuel mandate).

Onsite Diesel wethose service Portland
Portland, Oregon Diesel Fuel Taxes

(NOTE: Read this article by Star Oilco for more on Oregon Fuel Taxes Explained.

In 2016, the city of Portland, Oregon created its own diesel tax of $.10 a gallon. This tax is on both gasoline and diesel fuels sold at retail or commercially.  If you are operating vehicles over 26,000 GVW that are exempt from Oregon road tax, Portland also has a weight mile for those tax exempt vehicles.

If you are fueling inside the Portland city limits, that diesel tax will be charged at the pump when you fill up unless you are a P.U.C. tax exempted vehicle in Oregon.

Find a list of every diesel and gasoline tax by city and municipalities in Oregon see the Oregon Fuel Tax Group.

If you have any questions about Portland, Oregon diesel fuel standards please feel free to call or message Star Oilco for more information.

Star Oilco is here to be your Bulk Fuel Supplier in Portland, Oregon.

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For more on the subject of Diesel fuel please read these other posts by Star Oilco on the subject:

Every Question Star Oilco has been asked about Biodiesel

Every Question Star Oilco has been asked about Off Road Diesel

About Diesel Fuel – Star Oilco’s Diesel Fuel FAQ

Oregon Biodiesel Tax Breaks for Retail Stations

B20 Biodiesel, a Proven Fuel 150 150 Star Oilco

B20 Biodiesel, a Proven Fuel

Using Biodiesel in the Pacific Northwest.


(NOTE: B20 refers to 20% biodiesel blended with an 80% petroleum diesel percentage. B5 refers to 5% biodiesel blended with petroleum diesel which is the legally required blend percentage in Oregon state. For more on biodiesel basics, visit the US DOE.)

Biodiesel is the “Drop In Solution” used in the Pacific Northwest to reduce CO2 emissions in diesel equipment.

If you are looking to use Biodiesel in a fleet or a personal vehicle it is as easy as just asking for it.  In Oregon the fuel is everywhere.  From an Oregon and Washington state requirement for a minimum 5% of biodiesel blended with every gallon to large financial incentives this low carbon diesel fuel is ready for you if you want it.

It’s not just the Pacific Northwest.  For years B20 has been a defacto blend at some of the biggest names in fuel. When you pull up to the pump on the west coast you are likely getting B5 or B20 as a blend. In Oregon, B5 biodiesel is the required fuel by law. Oregon also has a B20 incentive for a waiver of state on road taxes.  Washington as well has requirements that biodiesel finds its way into retail and commercial diesel throughout the state.   Additionally, Oregon and California have “Clean Fuel Standard” programs which heavily incentivize low CO2 fuels like biodiesel.  Washington state is expected to pass their own Clean Fuel Standard as well this year.  Biodiesel has been a fact of life in fuel for over a decade in the United States and Pacific NW and it is not going away.

Due to a mix of federal and state incentives to use biodiesel, there can also be financial advantages for a fleet dedicated to making B20 biodiesel its fuel of choice. You can see evidence of this at truck stops and other retailers making B20 available in Oregon and Washington, as well as in the trucking lanes of the United States. America’s largest fleets are choosing B20 biodiesel in order to reduce their cost per mile. So can you.

In an effort to deliver the best value to truckers, many U.S. truck stops are blending biodiesel up to 20% when the market enables them to pass along a lower cost yet high quality ASTM specified diesel fuel to their customers. Most prominent is Pilot/Flying J, who lists where and when their sites are serving up B20 or lower blends. Pilot/Flying J buys biodiesel directly and blends on site in order to give their customers the best value possible. Loves Travel Centers also sell biodiesel blends around the U.S.

In Oregon, due to a diesel road tax waiver on B20 sales, gas station retailers Safeway, Leathers Fuel, Spaceage, and others are offering B20 biodiesel as their retail diesel offering. Oregon’s system requires the biodiesel be sourced from used vegetable oil refined biodiesel products. Biodiesel has been in Oregon’s fuel supply since 2006 when the city of Portland mandated B5 biodiesel blends within its city limits. The state of Oregon followed Portland with its own statewide mandate not long after.

(NOTE: If you operate a retail gas station and are curious about Oregon’s fuel tax breaks for biodiesel blends here is a more in depth article Oregon Biodiesel Tax Breaks for Retail Fuel Stations that explains these rules for retailers of fuel).

Biodiesel has been in our fuel system since 2006 and the technology that goes into making it has vastly improved. It is proven in diesel engine performance while also creating a diversified supply for energy and significantly reducing emissions from the working fleets of the world. Biodiesel substantially reduces emission coming out of your stack without a major impact on price because it helps to offset high diesel prices.

B20 Biodiesel A PROVEN FUEL

If you want to look at using B20 blends in your fleet, we are here to help. Star Oilco carries B20 blends for mobile onsite refueling every day of the week. We also have dyed/off-road/heating oil blends of B20. If you are an over the road fleet we can provide B20 at our cardlocks as well as help you procure it with a fleetcard over the road. Let us know if we can be of help.

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About Diesel Fuel 150 150 Star Oilco

About Diesel Fuel

Bulk Diesel Fuel Frequently Asked Questions

Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel is 15 PPMDyed Off-Road Diesel

Where your diesel comes from and what you need to know about ASTM Diesel Standards and ISO cleanliness code.

Where do Pacific Northwest vendors get their fuel?

In the Pacific Northwest, diesel is fungible. Everyone buys their fuel from each other in some way or another.  

This means that every refiner is typically expecting to mix their diesel and gasoline products. The real difference is in the care a vendor takes to filter the fuel, additize 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.

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.

Diesel Fuels

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.  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)*

* You can go to the source of ASTM HERE if you have an interest in really getting in depth.

Diesel fuel is characterized in the United States by the ASTM standard D975.  This standard 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 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%.

RecologyDealing with Dirty Fuel and Today’s Tier 4 Engines

Water and dirt are the biggest concerns for fuel quality. Why? Because no matter how perfect fuel is refined, these two elements can find their way into fuel and crash its performance. Water and dirt often build up in tanks just from the temperature change between night and day, causing a bulk fuel tank to breathe. Condensation and dust can also find their way into a bulk storage tank. If not addressed, they build up and will cause mechanical failures.

Dirty fuel will cause premature parts failure in equipment of any age. But newer equipment has far tighter tolerances than what we saw in previous decades. Today’s new and improved Tier 4 rail injector engines are more efficient, they burn cleaner, and run better, they are more powerful than ever before. But there are things that make fuel quality more important than ever. Because of the extremely high pressures (upwards of 35,000psi at the injector tip), the possibility of damage from dirty wet fuel is more prevalent than ever. This damage is much more pronounced in newer equipment with High Pressure Common Rail (HPCR) fuel systems. Hard particulate is commonly referred to as “dirt,” but is in fact made up of a wide variety of materials found at job sites (coal, iron, salt, etc.), generated by fuel tanks and lines (rust, corrosion, etc.) and inside engines (carbonaceous materials and wear particles).

Frequent diesel fuel filter changes — as well as the expensive, and time consuming, task of cleaning diesel fuel tanks — have become acceptable periodic maintenance, instead of a warning signal, for diesel engine failure. Diesel fuel filter elements should last a thousand hours or more, and injectors should endure 15,000 hours. However, since diesel fuel is inherently unstable, solids begin to form and the accumulating tank sludge will eventually clog your diesel fuel filters, ruin your injectors and cause diesel engines to smoke.

Symptoms

  • Clogged and slimy filters
  • Dark, hazy fuel
  • Floating debris in tanks
  • Sludge build up in tanks
  • Loss of power and RPM
  • Excessive smoke
  • Corroded, pitted injectors
  • Foul odor

The solids that form as the result of the inherent instability of the diesel fuel and the debris formed in the natural process of fuel degradation will accumulate in the bottom of your fuel tank. The sludge will form a coating or “bio-film” on the walls and baffles of the fuel tank, plug your fuel filters, adversely impact combustion efficiency, produce dark smoke from the exhaust, form acids that degrade injectors and fuel pumps, and impact performance. Eventually, fouled diesel fuel will clog fuel lines and ruin your equipment.

The Bigger Picture: ISO (International Standardization Organization)ISO Chart 1

In today’s world, the definition of what constitutes clean or dirty fuel is critically important and, as such, fuel cleanliness levels are now measured and reported according to the ISO Cleanliness Code 4406:1999. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) created the cleanliness code to quantify particulate contamination levels per milliliter of fluid at three sizes: 4μ, 6μ, 14μ. Microns.

Fuel Cleanliness vs. Engine Technology

Fuel cleanliness levels using the ISO4406:1999 method were officially documented as a global standard only as recently as 1998 with the development of the Worldwide Fuels Charter (WWFC). Since its inception, the charter has established a minimum cleanliness level for each of the diesel fuels under various available categories around the world.

Most mainstream engine OEM’s now subscribe to these standards. Interestingly (and somewhat troubling to note), however, is that fuel cleanliness levels as specified by engine OEM’s and the WWFC have not changed since their inception in 1998, despite the enormous advances in fuel injection technology. This relationship is best represented in the previous table that identifies the advances in fuel injection systems and clearly highlights how OEM’s and the WWFC have not responded to reduce fuel cleanliness in accordance with advancements in technology.

Diesel Fuel Injection – Advancing Technologies & Cleanliness Levels

ISO Chart 4This table  identifies that, over time, fuel injector critical clearances have halved and fuel pressures have doubled, yet the level of fuel cleanliness being specified has not changed in accordance with such advancements. In fact, the same cleanliness levels specified in 2000 are still being used today despite these magnificent technological design advancements by engine manufacturers worldwide.

Leading fuel injector manufacturers around the world have clearly identified and communicated that they require ULSD fuels with ISO fuel cleanliness levels as low as ISO12/9/6 to maintain ultimate performance and reliability. It is here where we see an enormous mismatch in what the fuel injection OEM desires as a fuel cleanliness level, to what the engine OEM’s and the WWFC are advising the industry. The following table identifies the discrepancies in fuel cleanliness levels.

Diesel Cleanliness Levels

 ISO Chart 3                        

 

 

 

 

 

WWFC Diesel Category Fuel Cleanliness Standards                                                                                                      ISO Chart 5

 

 

 

 

Damage Caused by Hard Particulate

Hard particulates cause problems with moving parts in the fuel system. This can lead to starting problems, poor engine performance, idling issues and, potentially, complete engine failure. All too common, hard particulates damage engines.

The spray pattern generated by the HPCR injector is critical for proper combustion and overall fuel system performance. (1) sm-injector-with-red-light-Bosch

It must be extremely precise in terms of quantity, distribution and timing. Ball seat valves are sealed with balls that are only 1mm in diameter. A good seal is absolutely necessary for proper injection. Damage from erosive wear, such as shown below, will cause over fueling, leading to decreased fuel efficiency and eventually shut you down altogether.

hpcr injector damaged by hard particulate(3) high-pressure-fuel-system-wear

Pump performance can also be compromised by scoring and abrasive wear. These issues are magnified by tighter tolerances and extreme pressures in HPCR engines. In these circumstances, it is the smallest particles (1-5 microns in size) that cause the most damage, virtually sand blasting part surfaces.

Allowable Levels of Hard Particulate 

(4) dirt-in-vs-allowed-in-1000-gal-dieselIn some parts of the world, 10,000 gallons (38,000 liters) of “typical” diesel contains 1-1/2 lbs (700 grams) of hard particulate; this is 1000 times more than the 1/4 oz. (0.7 grams) per 10,000 gallons (38,000 liters) that is allowed by the cleanliness requirements of high pressure common rail fuel systems. In reality, there is no “OK” level of hard particulate. Injector manufacturers are very clear that damage caused by hard particulate reaching the engine is not a factory defect, but rather the result of dirty diesel that is not fit for use in HPCR fuel systems. At the end of the day, the end user is responsible for the fuel he puts into his equipment, and the consequences thereof.

How Dirt Enters Fuel

Dust and dirt are all around us, especially on job sites. Diesel fuel is fairly clean when it leaves the refinery but becomes contaminated each time it is transferred or stored. Below you will find some of the key contributors of fuel contamination:

Pipelines: Most pipelines are not new, and certainly not in pristine condition. Corrosion inhibitors are added at most refineries to help protect pipelines, but rust and other hard particulate is nevertheless picked up by the fuel that flows through them.

Barges and rail cars: How often are they drained and scrubbed out? What was in the last load? Where did it come from? How much of it was still in the tank when your load was picked up? How long was it in transit? Is the tank hermetically sealed? There are many opportunities for contaminants to make their way into the fuel.

Terminal tanks: Terminal tanks usually see a high rate of turnover, so there is not much time for the fuel to pick-up contamination from outside ingress. Has the tank ever received a “bad load” from a pipeline or a barge? Has larger dirt had a chance to settle on the bottom of the tank? How often has it been cleaned out? Was it just filled? Did the bottom get churned up in the process? How full was the tank when your fuel was loaded into the delivery truck? There are many variables that can affect fuel cleanliness.

Delivery trucks: All the same issues that apply to stationary tanks also apply to tanker trucks, except that truck tanks never get a chance to settle. In addition, have you ever considered how much dirt gets into that tanker while it is delivering fuel to a customer, potentially a customer in an extremely dusty environment? As fuel flows out, air is sucked in to displace it. Is there anything protecting the inside of the tank from all the dust in the air? Generally not. Venting is typically completely unprotected, as seen in the image to the right.

Storage tanks: Onsite bulk storage tanks typically see less rapid turn-over than terminal tanks. In addition to those issues, yard and jobsite tanks can also develop serious problems with other sources of contamination, such as the ingress of dirt and water, condensation, rust, corrosion, microbial growth, glycerin fall-out and additive instability. Time and temperature become big factors affecting fuel quality.

Dispensing process: How far does your diesel need to travel between the bulk tank and the dispenser? The more pipe it runs though, the more potential there is for contamination. Are your dispenser nozzles kept clean? Are they ever dropped on the ground? Then what? What about the vehicles’ fuel tank inlets, are they clean? Think about the extremely tight tolerances in your fuel system, then take another look at housekeeping issues. You will see them through new eyes.

Onboard fuel tanks: Contamination continues even after the fuel is in the equipment. What has that tank seen in the past? Has it been left stagnant for long periods? What kind of protection is there on the equipment’s air intake vents? Heavy equipment does hard, dirty work.

Engines: Unfortunately, even if the fuel in your tank could be perfect, additional contamination is generated by the fuel system itself. Wear particles are created by mechanical friction. High heat and extreme pressure generated inside the modern engine, lead to coking and the creation of carbon products at the injector. Much of this internally-produced particulate is returned to the fuel tank, along with the unburned diesel.

The Bottom Line

No one gets special fuel, no one has better fuel, no one has cleaner fuel. Diesel fuel vendors get the same fuel, from the same pipeline, delivered to the same terminals. We all wait in the same lines with our tank trucks to get that same fuel. So ask yourself: Given that the fuel is the same, what sets one vendor apart from all the others? Star Oilco Premium Diesel fuel is treated with Hydrotex PowerKleen® additive running through Donaldson filtration systems.

Clean, dry, premium diesel

FURTHER READING ON DIESEL 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.