With a fleet of diesel powered vehicles, bulk and long-term diesel fuel storage is an economical way to ensure you’re always prepared. But just how long can you store diesel fuel? While a number of factors influence the life of diesel fuel, there are some things you can do to keep it fresher longer.
The length of time diesel fuel can be stored depends on factors such as tank location, contaminants and the temperature at which it’s stored. Since these factors can vary from tank to tank, there is no single expiration date that can be given for a load of diesel fuel.
As diesel fuel is stored, it slowly reacts with oxygen in the air to form gums and varnishes. With higher temperatures, this reaction increases. Additional contaminants such as water and rust also accelerate this process. Be aware that algae, which is fungal growth, and particulate matter, such as tiny bugs called microbes live in water and feed on fuel. These contaminants result in a black, slimy substance that can plug filters.
As a general rule, diesel fuel should not be stored for longer than six months. But if long-term storage is necessary, avoid extreme temperatures by storing the tank underground or indoors and with proper ventilation caps. If diesel fuel is stored for more than one year, it needs to be tested before use.
To keep diesel fuel fresher longer, keep contaminates like water and corrosion out of storage tanks. Cycle fuel as much as possible and try a fuel polishing system to filter out contaminates. The storage stabilizer additives in Cenex Roadmaster XL® and Ruby Fieldmaster® reduce the formation of gum and varnish and can double the fuel’s storage life. And, they contain demulsifiers that isolate water by dropping it to the bottom of the tank and making it easy to remove. This prevents water from going through the fuel system and stops algae formation in storage tanks.
-Neil Hoff, CHS Manager of Product Marketing for Refined Fuels