Fuel costs are the proverbial thorn in the side of any construction firm. Making up as much as 50% of a fleet’s operational costs (as identified by Caterpillar’s team), the fluctuating price of diesel makes it very important to have an efficient fuel system. While cutting back on fuel use through telematics is the most effective way to cut these costs, the quality of the fuel you do use is an often-overlooked factor in the fuel system’s efficiency.

As diesel fuel systems have become more refined to meet ever more robust emissions regulations, they have also become more sensitive to impurities in the tanks. When the Tier 4 Interim and Final Solutions forced a focus on efficiency, many manufacturers used advanced fuel injection designs to meet the requirements. These new methods were better at filtering out emissions from the process. By developing a more exacting fuel injection process which filters out ever smaller particles, the new engines are able to acheive unprecedented levels of efficiency.

The price of such efficiency however, is the demand for ever cleaner fuel.

Increase efficiency for fuel system

“Total machine clearance for a typical fuel injector…today might be just two microns – about the thickness of a single cell bacteria.”

~Philip Johnson, Donaldson Filtration Solutions’ director of new business development.

The filtration in fuel systems for heavy equipment is even more precise, going down to 8-10 microns for the primary filters and 2-5 microns for the secondary filters. This level of filtration means the quality of fuel is paramount to secure efficiency. That is why fuel quality and control have become an necessary  factor in securing optimal fuel efficiency.

3 Precautions Ensure the Cleanest Fuel in Your Fuel System:

1) Fresh fuel. The fresher the fuel, the less likely it will be to have contaminants as any water in the tank can support bacterial growth over time.Conventional fuels have a longer shelf life of about 6-12 months. Biofuels or biofuel blends have a quicker turnover rate of 2-3 months. Whichever you use, just be aware that many states require biodiesel to be added to fuel according to Ed English, chief chemist, Fuel Quality Services. These mandated blends can contain up to 5 percent biodiesel (B5) without having to be identified as “biofuel.


2) Storage. To further discourage water in the tanks, make sure to store your fuel tanks inside and away from direct sunlight. The variations in temperature can lead to condensation and microbial growth. Also be sure  to avoid galvanized tanks as the zinc and zinc alloys the contain can form unstable compounds that lead to rough running and lower power.

3) Filter before storing. Most experts and chemists recommend filtering fuel when it’s recieved into a storage tank. That way any contaminants the could have been picked up on it’s journey from the refinery, down the pipeline, railcars or transport trucks,and in the storage terminal before being poured into your storage tanks can be removed. One way to ensure this is by filtering the fuel as it’s delivered.

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BSM Technologies – A leading player in the M2M industry for 20 years, BSM continues to grow and has proven its sustainability in the GPS asset tracking and telematics industry. Our location-smart platform is ideal for managing the health and compliance of assets vital to your organization. Covering a wide range of industries from construction and rail to tanks and even HOS, BSM is your committed partner in assisting with all your fleet management solutions.

Today, our solutions are used to optimize and manage over 70,000 assets across 40 countries by some of the largest rail, construction, and commercial fleet organizations in the world. Experience our enterprise-focused solutions, robust capabilities, and customer-oriented culture.

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