Fuel quality can in fact be a competitive differentiator for fuel marketers. Here are 3 things fuel site operators, technicians and contractors need to know in order to make the most of it.
1. Consumers actually do care about fuel quality.
According to the 2019 Consumer Behavior at the Pump report from NACS, fuel customers are increasingly filling up at specific stations that they have established a preference for. While fuel price is the top driver of preferences, 47% of fuel customers are reported to choose where they purchase fuel based on their perception of the station’s fuel quality.
2. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires a level of cleaning detergent additives that is LOWER than what many automotive manufacturers recommend.
Keep in mind that the EPA’s primary motivation is to protect the environment, not engine technologies. The EPA created a standard in 1997 for the lowest concentration of additives for gasoline. But that level led to performance issues with automotive components that are susceptible to engine deposits. In 2004, automakers and engine manufacturers collaborated to establish the “Top Tier” detergent fuel program, which is a performance standard that calls for higher levels of detergents and restricted metallic content than the EPA standard. This performance standard is shown to substantially reduce engine deposits. Learn more about the development of the Top Tier program in the Convenience Matters podcast, “Educating Consumers to Care About Fuel Quality.”
3. Fueling system equipment selection and maintenance is a key contributor to clean fuel.
Fuel marketers join the Top Tier program by paying a fee to be an approved supplier of Top Tier fuel. But there are aspects of fueling system equipment selection and maintenance that can undermine fuel quality regardless of how high the fuel’s detergent level is. Strong water management practices are essential to keep contamination and corrosion-related problems inside the fueling system from diminishing fuel quality. As such, fuel equipment manufacturers are introducing watertight components and corrosion management solutions. Contact a Source representative to learn more.
Watch for an upcoming article from Source in Fuels Market News for more information about fuel quality.