Rewind a few years to 2004 and you’d find yourself at the inception of the Top Tier certification program. Automakers, including Mercedes-Benz and BMW, decided that EPA minimum detergent requirements were not enough to protect the increasingly sensitive engines being produced. Thus, they set forth a detergent content certification program known as Top Tier.
Currently, 34 companies participate – over 70,000 fuel retail locations – representing almost half of the market. The detergents in the fuel help prevent build-up in the engines it runs. This is a good thing.
However, added detergents in fuel might be masking a more serious problem – poor fuel quality.
When you know you’ve got a safety net, you tend to take more risks than you would otherwise. This is true in all areas of life, the personal and the professional.
83% of consumers surveyed said they would blame station management if the fuel they purchased damaged their vehicle. “But my fuel has additives! It has detergents!” you may say. Detergents are a miracle cure for all fuel ailments, though. Detergents can cover up mediocre fuel quality – temporarily. It isn’t a license to ignore the conditions inside your fuel storage system because fuel degradation, water infiltration, microbial growth can all converge in your tank to create a catastrophic situation.
Having additive-boosted fuel can certainly help your customers engines. But it isn’t a cure-all. There is no substitute for vigilance. Flow rates still need to be monitored, filters need to be checked, equipment needs to be examined.
Fuel Quality Testing is an operation that does just that – it is a mobile fuel investigation team, trained to give station owners and managers a real-time look at the health of their fuel dispensing system. FQT can analyze ethanol content, identify microbial contamination, check filter types, inspect the sumps for water infiltration – and their services are customizable, tailored to fit your individual site needs.
We highly recommend regular inspections of fuel quality. It can help prevent problems further down the road. Top Tier gasoline has been tested by AAA and found to be a good investment for your customers – but don’t rely on detergent to make up for bad fuel.
Our reputation is built on helping you maintain yours. If you’ve got any questions about monitoring your fuel quality, we’re happy to help – just send an email (firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call at 260-346-2500!
If you’re interested in more information about Fuel Quality Testing, visit www.fuelqualitytesting.com or call the Clean Fuels National office line (260-346-2500).