How does fuel stability affect me?

Written by Capt. Jeff Werner

Fuel stability is a serious concern to the diesel fuel user.

The chemistry of diesel fuel instability involves the chemical conversion of precursors to species of higher molecular weight with limited solubility. The conversion process often involves the oxidation of the precursors.

We all realize that fuel is an unstable, organic liquid that goes “bad”. Your vendor will always sell you the highest fuel quality possible. However, due to a variety of circumstances fuel may have “aged”, oxidized and contain water. It may have been contaminated before it was delivered to you by your vendor.

Fuel has to travel from the refinery to you. It is pumped through pipelines, barged, trucked and stored in tank farms. Daily changes in temperature and exposure to the atmosphere will cause condensation and water in storage systems. None of this will help improve fuel quality.

When your fuel is finally used, it is exposed to the heat and pressure of the engine injection system, centrifuges, pumps and heaters causing an increase in asphaltene agglomerations, which negatively impacts combustion efficiency and emissions.

Capt. Jeff Werner, a Licensed USCG Master, has sailed professionally throughout the world.  He is also the Diesel Doctor, helping to keep your boat’s fuel clean and bright.

If you have additional questions for Capt. Jeff Werner, please email him