Is The Cold Stealing Your Fuel?

Diesel Fuel- Bulk Fuel

It’s cold outside! Winter is in full swing and spring is not looking to warm up. A remarkable phenomenon occurs when the temperature drops in liquids. Fluids condense and shrink in volume when the temperature is cold. Interestingly, the volume of fuel and gas drops as well, the same is true for the opposite. What does that mean for the average person filling their car, or an operator ordering bulk fuel? Well cozy up and let’s explore the adverse and strange effects of temperature on fuel.

Because diesel and gasoline are fluids, they become much denser when it is cold. We purchase fuel on a volume metric so this affects the amount of fuel you purchase when it is cold vs when it is hot. We promise there is science to this! The severity of change is measured by a coefficient of thermal expansion or β for short. A thermal expansion coefficient measures the change in volume (as a ratio) based on a change in temperature. Usually, units of this measurement are 10-6/K (how many millionths of the original volume does a liquid change with a change of one Kelvin). Let’s take a look at some cold hard numbers.

Fluid β (10-6/K)
Ethyl Alcohol 1,120
Gasoline (petroleum and diesel) 950
Jet Fuel 990
Mercury 181
Water 207

(all above measure at 20°C)


Looking at the numbers above you can see that fuel and alcohol have the most change with temperature remember that these are tiny measures that when added together and compared show that there is about a 1% change in volume of gasoline for every 19°F change in temperature. Using this in easy to understand metrics, let us assume that a shipping company requires 1,000 gallons of fuel delivered when the temperature is about 60°. Early the next morning when that shipping company begins fueling their equipment at 40° they will only actually pump 990 gallons! A loss of 10 gallons of fuel adds up in the industry world. This is also theoretically true when you are pumping gas. When you pump gas in the cold you technically pump a volume that will expand with heat i.e your car’s internal temperature thus netting you a gain in volume and value

Fuel Delivery - Bulk fuel - bulk fuel delivery

Now before you go and fill oil barrels to sell for a profit in warmer climates, understand that this is not the case in practice. At least for fueling stations, fuel is stored in highly thermo-regulated tanks that monitor and adjust the temperature of fuel keeping it at a cool comfortable 60°, meaning that you will almost always pump fuel at its natural resting state. However, ordering fuel delivery could prove to have the temperature play a part on your deliverables. Almost all fuel delivery trucks are temperature controlled to ensure that you are receiving the fuel you pay for, however where that fuel is utilized is another story! Storing fuel in the cold could produce a lower volume of fuel than what was delivered and may eat into costs of operations.

Take these natural occurrences into account when deciding where you will be storing your fuel on a worksite to maintain lower fuel costs in your industry.

We hope you enjoyed this information and found it useful. Please consider subscribing to our blog, or checking out our social media for more helpful tips and information in our ever-changing industry

Thank you,

The SC Fuels Team

5 Diesel fuel facts you should know!

Diesel Fuel - Lubricants - Bulk Fuel

Diesel fuel is an interesting compound that acts very differently from gasoline outside of its difference in combustion within a chamber. Its properties have very interesting effects and applications that many do not know. Today we will explore 5 interesting facts that everyone should know about diesel fuel.

1. Diesel fuel has a very low flammability level.

Due to a much higher flash point and resistance to pressure; igniting diesel, both within the confines of a combustion chamber, and outside in standard air pressure requires more combustive power and heat. In fact, you could toss a lit match into a bucket of diesel fuel and it would be doused rather than ignite. Petroleum gasoline has a lower viscosity meaning when it travels through a fuel injector and into the spark chamber it has already become vaporous and ignites as fumes. Diesel, on the other hand, maintains a liquid structure and travels into the spark chamber as drops that each need to be ignited individually.

2. Diesel engines are now held to the same EPA standards as gasoline engines

The United States Environmental Protection Agency now requires all diesel engines meet the same pollution standards as typical gasoline engines. Beginning in 2007, car production companies added a new device called a diesel particulate filter that functions to remove the visible smoke from the exhaust making; making diesel just as clean as any standard gasoline vehicle.

3. Diesel fuel was actually created from trial and error by Rudolf Diesel

Diesel Fuel - Bulk Fuel - Lubricants

Rudolf was trying to create a fuel that could be used in the engine that he also created and named after himself. During his testing, Rudolf tested with many different oils outside of petroleum ranging from almond and vegetable oil to peanut oil!


4. Diesel engines work vastly different than petroleum engines

 Basic petroleum engines work by secreting fuel vapor into a chamber that a spark plug then combusts to power the engine and produce enough kinetic energy to actually move the vehicle. Diesel engine cylinders are pre-heated and do not have spark plugs. The cylinders are then introduced to heated oxygen that the diesel then reacts to and burns. This causes the mechanical motion of the cylinders and runs the engine. Diesel engines are considered more efficient than gasoline in terms of miles per gallon.

Diesel Fuel - Lubricants - Bulk Fuel

5. Diesel offers better levels of lubricity.

Diesel oil lubrication in an engine helps reduce its overall friction, diesel lubricants are chemically engineered specifically to reduce the friction and wear on the fuel pump and fuel injectors. This has led to the need for fewer repairs and a decrease in downtime and keeps your equipment in the field or vehicles on the road!


Did you learn anything new? Was this interesting? Let us know in the comments below and consider following us on social media for more fuel related information and interesting articles in our ever-changing industry. Learn more about our fuel here



-The SC Fuels Team!

The Right Lubricant for the Right Job!

Lubricant- Grease- Oil - Fuel

Are you using the right motor oil on your vehicles? What about the right grease to optimize the performance of your machinery? Lubricants play an integral part in the efficiency of a piece of equipment or vehicle, but with so many different oils, greases, and lubes on the market, purchasing and utilizing the correct product for your equipment can be daunting.  Join us in exploring the different lubricants, their applications, and which ones you need to operate with the greatest efficiency!

Motor Oil

Let’s begin with the most commonly used lubricant in the workplace; motor oil. Motor oil is usually classified in one of four varieties.

Synthetic Motor Oil: Synthetic motor oil is chemically engineered so that its molecules are more uniform in shape and contain far fewer impurities and have better properties to increase its performance in extreme temperatures.

Synthetic Blend Motor Oil: is a mixture of conventional basic oil and synthetic to formulate a fluid that is resistant to oxidation

High Mileage Motor Oil: This motor oil is specially formulated for both older and newer vehicles with over 75,000 miles. It is engineered with unique additives to reduce oil burn off and prevent oil leaks which are more common in older engines.

Conventional Motor Oil: Formed in many grades, conventional motor oils are designed with simple engine designs and use in mind.

Motor oils use a system developed by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), to classify the oil fluids viscosity. Viscosity is a quantity expressing the magnitude of internal friction, as measured by the force per unit area resisting a flow in which parallel layers unit distance apart has a unit speed relative to one another. In other words, it is the resistance a fluid gives to tension. A low viscosity is something like water, while a higher viscosity is something more like honey.

The viscosity grade of a lube oil is determined by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). Oils can be separated into multigrade oils and monograde oils. Multigrade oils must fulfill two viscosity specifications, their viscosity grade consists of two numbers, e.g. 10W-40: 10W refers to the low-temperature viscosity (“Winter”), 40 refers to the high-temperature viscosity (“Summer”). Currently, most automotive engine oils are multigrade oils, while oils for restricted usage, e.g. for seasonally used engines like lawnmowers, are often monograde oils.

Armed with this information you can now make informed purchasing decisions for you or your company in regards to motor oil. If you found this information interesting please consider following us on social media for more useful guides and articles. If you are looking for motor oil for you or your company check our performance 500 line of lubricants here!



-The SC Fuels team


SC Fuels is the oldest oil and fuel distributor in California. Founded in 1930 our family run company has provided quality and economically priced fuel to the Mid-Western United States. Our promise has been to keep your business needs in mind when providing and building your fuel plan. We provide high-quality diesel fuel, industrial and machine grade lubricants and chemicals, fleet card programs and unbranded bulk fuel delivery for companies with large fuel utilization.

Thank you for taking the time to learn more about the great industry we are a part of. We strive to educate and provide valuable content that will enhance your understanding of the petroleum industry as well as provide tips and tricks to enhance your utilization of fuel based products and other successful strategies the market has produced.

Subscribe and learn more about the fuel industry or any segment that is affected by the petroleum market.


The SC Fuels Family