Do I have to get my diesel at the fuel dock? - SailNet Community

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Old 04-21-2010
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Do I have to get my diesel at the fuel dock?

Well, launch day is two weeks away. The three pages of "Do List" has been wittled down to about 20 items left to do. After some fuel system maintenance, I have an empty 35 gallon tank. ....so I'm thinking....do I have to run all the way over to the fuel dock with my cans, or can I go across the street to the service station and get 10 gallons of diesel there? I will be adding a cetane boster and biocide anyway, right? Besides being $2 / gal more expensive, what other differences are there between mairne deisel at the dock and what I get in my car?
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Old 04-21-2010
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You just need to make sure that you do not get any fuel with ethanol. The road diesel tends to be ultra low sulfur so adding a booster is a good idea to get extra octane and lube qualities. Before long, it will all be the same fuel since the standards for ultra low sulfur will be upheld for marine diesel too.
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Diesel at the dock

According to the diesel instructor at Mack Boring there is no reason, all things being equal, not to buy the fuel at the truck stop across the street. The all things being equal part pertains to the fact that you really want to buy fuel where they turn it over frequently so that it is less likely to be contaminated.

I buy mine at a truck stop, only the color is different to reflect that road tax has been paid.
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Old 04-21-2010
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There is a relatively short shelf life for diesel (and gasoline), several months at best. A truckstop usually handles vastly more fuel than a marina; therefore, the fuel is 'fresher', less degraded, has less water absorbed, less fungal spores (the stuff that then grows inside the tankage) ...... than just about 'any' marina.

Large scale marina operations, especially those who cater to 'watermen' will usually have 'almost' the same quality of fuel as a Truckstop. A low-turnover marina, one that only pumps a few hundred gallons per week .... usually dispenses ----- GOO.

Hint - when buying marina fuel, regardless that the price is usually 30-50% more expensive than an automotive source, alway pour a small amount into a CLEAR glass and hold it up between your eyeball and bright light/sun. If there is any 'haze' in the container ..... stop fueling, and go somewhere else as any 'haze' denotes that the fuel has become severely degraded or contaminated.

FRESH fuel is the way to do it and that usually means 'truckstop' or marina that caters to 'commercial watercraft'

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If you already own the cans, (you should) get it at the truck stop, add the biocide and forget the cetane booster. The cetane booster is like using high test in a chevette, just don't make no sense. The "low sulpher" aspect isn't going to make a difference unless you plan on motoring 24/7 for half a million miles.( there is no ethanol in diesel)
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No, you don't have to get your fuel at the fuel dock.

But, many marinas and harbors have laws or rules about fueling boats from jerry cans, so you may need to watch for that. Also, if you spill fuel into the water while fueling from a jerry can, you could find yourself dealing with the DEP or EPA or USCG...
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Old 04-21-2010
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I you use low sulphur diesel, add about 1/2 quart of light weight motor oil to your jerry can full of diesel - it will add back much of the lubricant qualities lost with the low sulphur. We have two diesel Mercedes from the '80's and we add oil when we fill them up.
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Old 04-21-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ereiss View Post
I buy mine at a truck stop, only the color is different to reflect that road tax has been paid.
Which of course no one should have to pay for fuel used on a boat.

So how about we use home heating oil? Not really a big deal for me, I probably use two tanks per season and my tank is small. But others pay through the nose.
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All diesel comes from the same basic stock (as dose heating oil). Diesel pumps for OTR vehicles are required to be ULSD because new diesels have DPF's but home heating oil and marina fuel can have a higher sulfur content. That said, almost all marina fuel is ULSD. The only difference between it and the stuff at the truck stop is the red dye. This symbolizes that it is not approved for OTR use and that no road tax needs to be paid. The best thing to do is to find a station that sells a lot of off road diesel and use that, it will be the cheapest by far.

The point about how much fuel a station dispenses is very valid. Use the popular fueling places, they flush their tanks more often which gives you a higher chance of getting clean fuel. Also, never fuel up when they are filling the tanks, the gunk on the bottom tends to get churned up.
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I purchase off road deisel, and at quite a savings too. It's worth the effort carrying jugs. If you are in a farming area it will be easier to find.......i2f
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