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Today’s Diesel Engines Present New Challenges



By Adam Steffes, Energy Manager

Diesel engine manufacturers have modified their engine designs in order to meet new EPA specifications for reduced emissions. This is a good thing because it means better efficiency and cleaner air for our environment, but it also means we need to change the way we think about our fuel. If you own a new diesel vehicle – or are in the market for one – here are a few things you should know:

  1. Diesel engines now burn hotter and operate under extreme pressure

Newer engines operate under higher temperatures and pressures than ever before. Imagine the entire weight of an 18-wheeler put within one square inch (about the size of a postage stamp). That gives you an idea of the amount of pressure going through a single fuel injector.

Under extreme pressure, the temperature of fuel increases. The result of the extreme pressure and heat can literally “cook” typical #2 diesel fuel, resulting in fouled fuel that re-circulates in the fuel system. This leads to a number of problems, including injector failure, clogged filters, reduced efficiency, power loss, poor starting, costly repairs and even engine failures.

Fortunately, there’s a solution. Cenex® Premium Diesel Fuels are specially formulated with an additive package designed for new fuel systems. Users who have made the switch from a standard #2 diesel to a Cenex Premium Diesel report it’s effective at eliminating the problems mentioned above. (For more information, visit

  1. There is now an “extra” cap next to your fuel tank.

That extra cap is for Diesel Engine Fluid (DEF), an operating fluid required by Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) systems. DEF is injected into hot exhaust as a fine mist and passes over a catalyst to convert nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions into nitrogen gas and water vapor – effectively reducing NOx emissions to the levels required by the EPA.

A clear, odorless solution of urea and water, DEF is not explosive, flammable, toxic or subject to any hazardous product regulations. It has a shelf life of about 12 months. FCA has DEF available at our C-store islands, in bulk and in 2.5-gallon containers.

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