The Impact of Premium Diesel Fuel

September 6, 2017 02:57 PM



By: Akhtar Hussain, Director, CHS Refined Fuels Marketing

You may have heard of descriptors like premium or TOP TIERTM fuel, but do you ever wonder what these really mean? While TOP TIERTM certification has become commonplace with gasoline consumers, its rollout for the diesel fuel category is relatively new.

First, it’s important to know that TOP TIERTM and premium fuels are not synonymous. TOP TIERTM diesel is a newly introduced industry category with more detergent and lubricity than a typical #2 diesel fuel.  This added detergent and lubricity reduces engine deposits that can negatively impact fuel economy and vehicle emissions.

Cenex® is a proponent of anything that raises baseline standards for diesel fuel. However, the additive package found in a premium diesel fuel, like Cenex Roadmaster XL® or RubyFieldmaster®, far exceeds the minimum requirements for #2 diesel fuel in more ways than just detergent and lubricity. Cenex Premium Diesel Fuels contain a unique combination of seven hardworking additives designed specifically for heavy duty applications to prevent injector fouling and filter plugging, helping to minimize costly downtime.

Today’s diesel engines use high-pressure common-rail (HPCR) direct-injection technology, meaning the high temperature and pressure these engines operate at can literally cook a typical #2 diesel. While every diesel engine will benefit from using a premium diesel fuel, operators will see added value and protection during periods of extreme use such as harvest.

When diesel fuel is designated as premium, it means the following:  

1. A higher cetane number. 
Cetane measures a fuel’s ignition delay, or how quickly the air and fuel mixture combusts in your engine. Higher cetane means a shorter delay and better ignition quality — which in turn leads to faster start-ups and reduced wear on your batteries and starter, along with less pollution. 

2. Better lubricity. 
Lubrication in an engine helps reduce overall friction. Diesel lubricants specifically reduce the friction and wear of the fuel pump and injection components. These engine parts are under intense pressure, so more lubrication leads to less downtime and fewer costly repairs. 

3. More effective detergents.
Detergents do exactly what they sound like: keep your fuel and engine components clean. Detergents in your diesel reduce buildup on fuel injectors. Clean parts mean less overall downtime and fewer repairs, so you can keep your fleet on the road or your equipment in the field. 

4. A well-rounded additive package. 
Premium diesel comes packed with additives that produce a variety of benefits. These additives include demulsifiers to keep water out of the fuel, corrosion inhibitors that extend the life of injection pumps and stabilizers that prevent the formation of gum or sludge during storage. All these elements together extend the life of both the fuel and the engine.

When all these components work together, engines run cleaner and more efficiently. Cenex® Premium Diesel Fuels deliver more power and better fuel economy than a typical #2 diesel. Industry tests show a 4.5 percent increase in power and up to a 5 percent boost in fuel economy when using Cenex® Premium Diesel products compared to an untreated, typical #2 diesel. It has also been show to increase lubricity by up to 10 to 15 percent and prevent injector fouling.

Because the benefits of premium diesel are so impactful, Cenex® offers its Total Protection Plan® for equipment that uses Cenex® Premium Diesel and certified lubricant products. Reach out to your local Cenex® dealer for more details.

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Spell Check

Becca Holton
Dearing, KS
10/16/2017 05:58 PM

  I liked that you expounded upon each of the different factors that make up premium diesel fuel. I didn't know that higher cetane reduces wear on the battery. Overall, this makes a great point about why it's essential to make sure you're using quality fuel.

Lillian Schaeffer
Spokane, WA
2/26/2018 12:15 PM

  It's interesting that premium diesel fuel has better lubricity. My husband wants to buy a truck with a diesel engine. I want him to take good care of it, so he'll have to use premium fuel so things stay more lubricated. I'll also look around for a diesel engine repair place just in case we run into problems.

Indpendence, KS
1/10/2018 06:42 PM

  That's really cool that premium diesel fuel will help lubricate and reduce the amount of wear and friction on the engine. If it is helping people then they'd probably be happy to keep getting those benefits. It'd be important for places to make sure that they do have diesel delivered to them that is that good.


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