If you’ve stepped outside lately, you can feel that winter is just around the corner. In nearly every part of the country, temperatures are falling to unseasonably low levels. At points this week, parts of the Northern Plains region will see temperatures below 10° F. Even in the south, markets like Dallas, Memphis, and Atlanta will see sub-freezing temperatures by the end of the week. What does that mean for fuel buyers?
If you buy gasoline, you’re in luck. Gasoline doesn’t even begin freezing until -40° F, and temperatures would have to fall below -100° F before your gas tank solidifies. Diesel, on the other hand, is much tougher to manage.
Although diesel fuel won’t turn into an icy block until -80° F in a lab, on the road it’s a different story. Diesel fuel begins to gel at 32° F, with waxy build-up becoming visible and clouding up your fuel. Generally, this won’t impede driving, but it’s an early warning sign. By the time temperatures fall around 5°-15° F, diesel fuel can potentially gel enough to clog your filters and cause your engine to stop. To learn more about diesel gelling, check out our recent post on Winter Diesel Additives. If you’re in Canada, you can rest easy – the fuel coming from refiners is already blended to face winter chills.
If you live in the US, here’s what cold weather means:
- Treat Your Diesel – If your temperatures will fall below 30° F, go ahead and treat your fuel with ColdPRO or other winter additives. Your fuel may get cloudy, but the additive will prevent gelling. Not sure what temps to expect? Check out this easy 10-Day Forecast Map from the Weather Channel.
- Test Your Tank – Go ahead and have your fuel supplier test your tank to see if there’s water (which can clog filters at temperatures as high as 32° F) or contaminants that could cause winter problems. Haven’t ordered a test before? Reach out to an Arsenal expert.
- Expect Higher Regional Diesel Demand – Cold weather means heating oil demand. If you live in an area that uses lots of heating oil, such as the Northeast or the Midwest, your region could see higher diesel demand. Given tight inventories, that could bring elevated prices.