Fuel Retailing Woes: What Can Turn Your Gas from Good to Bad?

If there’s one thing that seriously puts off fuel customers, it is “bad gas”. It reduces their mileage, eats up their wallet and damages their vehicle’s engine.  

Fuel Retailing Woes

But how do fuel customers end up with bad gas in first place?

Bad Gas at Gas Stations

Gasoline is prone to contamination from water and other substances picked up from fuel lines, storage tanks and delivery vehicle.

Water intrusion at fueling sites is normal and can result from condensation, loose and or missing fuel system fittings, accidental drains, damaged spill buckets, etc. As for particulate contamination; it is simply the byproduct of the transfer process—you can’t avoid dirt, dust and debris during transfer, can you?

Unwanted water in gasoline can cause microbial growth and phase separation. Microbial growth is problematic because microbes like to feed on gasoline. Phase separation is a problem because it produces a cocktail of water and gasoline, which can damage vehicle engines and reduce vehicle mileage.


Same goes for particulates.

Particulates in gasoline can cause abrasion and long term damage to engine components. The particles don’t necessarily have to be large in size to cause damage; in fact, particles as small as 5 microns are enough to do the damage.

What’s worth stressing here is the fact that gasoline contamination can occur at any fuel retailing site, including yours. Yes, even you could be selling bad gas to your customers, and you might not even know it.

How do you find out if the gas at your gas station is contaminated?

Look for the following signs:

  • Frequent premature failure of dispensing filters
  • Reduced fuel flow
  • Abnormal gauge readings
  • Hoses, valves and seals needing replacing more frequently than usual
  • Customers complaining about reduced mileage or recurring engine problems

If you sell higher ethanol blends at your gas station, you need to be even more watchful, for fuels with higher ethanol content have higher affinity for water and absorb moisture more readily from the environment.

What can you do to reduce the risk of fuel contamination at your site?

You can deploy a number of measures, including:

  • Installing an ATG system with water monitoring capability. This will alert you to any potential presence of water inside your fuel storage tank, which you can then quickly get rid of.
  • Installing dispenser filters at your pumps specified for detecting and reacting to phase separation
  • Regularly inspecting your spill buckets, gaskets, hoses, valves and seals for leaks and promptly replacing those that are damaged.
  • Inspecting fuel at the time of delivery to make sure it does not contain moisture.

Here at the John W. Kennedy Company, we sell a complete variety of gas station equipment and hardware needed to keep your fuel stock and fuel system in good health. Visit our online store to view our full product range.

For further reading: Elevate your fuel management system with TLS-450 PLUS ATG system.

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