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How long can you store diesel fuel? What the big oil companies say.

We receive this question often at Algae-X International and surprisingly, it has no solid answer.

Here’s what the big oil companies say:

Chevron Stored Fuel Advice

BP Stored Fuel Shelf Life Advice

Exxon Mobile long term stored fuel shelf life advice

Shell Oil Stored Diesel Fuel Advice

So how long can you store diesel fuel? Long term diesel fuel storage apparently depends on how much air is exposed, how much water is in the fuel storage tank, and how much algae will deteriorate the fuel. While there is no definite timeline you can stamp on the fuel like a “freshness date”, you can do the following to elongate the life-cycle of your stored diesel:

1)   Try and keep contaminates such as water and air out of your storage tanks

2)   Cycle your fuel often. Use a fuel polishing system to separate the water and filter out contaminates

Algae-X has developed several fuel systems to polish your fuel, safely transfer your fuel, and clean your fuel storage tanks to help you elongate the shelf life of your stored fuel. We even have automated fuel filtration and separation systems that will cycle the fuel periodically for you.

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  1. 07/28/2012 at 3:28 am

    What if you store the diesel fuel in a 55 gal virgin plastic drum fill it to the very top put in your additives and seal the drum air tight and store it inside how long will it last and be able to be used in a diesel generator?

    • 07/30/2012 at 8:20 am

      James, that’s an excellent suggestion. The fuel deterioration process begins at the refinery however, and the fuel’s chemical properties of degradation are natural and inherent. These properties can be exacerbated by the storage environment however the process is inevitable.

      • 07/30/2012 at 9:38 am

        Understand that but whats your best guess as to how long it would be good to run in a small disel be good to run in a small one cylinder diesel generator

      • 07/30/2012 at 10:35 am

        The experts estimate diesel fuel shelf life at 6 months +/-. I think this would be a good guideline to follow.

  2. D.L. American
    09/27/2012 at 10:50 pm

    all of this 6 mos +/- sounds like people trying to sell you their stablizers etc. i have had both gas and diesel stored in jerry cans for over 2yrs and was used with out any problems in the generator and snomobiles, which would lead me to believe if stored in fuel bladders and sealed it would store a lot longer than the producers would like us to believe. is anyone dumb enough to think the military is going to be dependt upon normal available fuel supplies in the event of long term national/world desaster. sure just run the old APC into the local ready mart. RIGHT.

    • 09/28/2012 at 8:27 am

      Thank you for your comment, it’s wonderful that your stored fuel is still usable. Check the color of the diesel fuel that has been stored for two years to fresh diesel from the pump. If the color of the stored diesel is darker, it is deteriorating. The darker color indicates the molecular agglomeration process is already happening.

      Fuel quality is effected not only by the process with which it is created but also the environments it encounters during transport and storage to its final destination. Besides being an inherently unstable fluid on the molecular level, with the behavior characteristics to agglomerate into solids, exposure to fungus, yeasts and microbes, poor quality tanks with water intrusion, rust and old fuel all react with the diesel to accelerate the deterioration process.

      It’s important to note that all of the big oil companies have similar conclusions about the life of their fuel. None deny the evidence of the natural process of fuel aging and deterioration.

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