How Long Does Diesel Fuel Last In Storage?

fuel tank with monitorVarious industries rely on off-road diesel fuel to power their vehicles, machinery, generators, and more. To make sure fuel is available at all times, many businesses and job sites utilize onsite storage solutions such as fuel tanks and drums. If you plan on storing diesel fuel long-term, it’s important to know how long it will last in storage before it is no longer usable.

Diesel Fuel Shelf Life

With proper storage and maintenance practices, diesel fuel can last six to twelve months on average. This is true for regular clear diesel that is used for on-road vehicles and off-road/red-dyed diesel that is used in commercial and industrial settings.

There are many factors that can affect its shelf life including:

  • Oxidation – When diesel fuel is exposed to air, it becomes susceptible to oxidation. This causes the formation of harmful deposits, which degrade the quality of the fuel faster than expected.
  • Contamination – If diesel fuel isn’t stored properly, it can easily become contaminated with water, particulate matter, rust, and other foreign debris. Water is especially damaging since it promotes microbial growth and can sneak into fuel tanks through condensation, leaks, or improper handling.
  • Temperature – Fluctuating temperatures can also contribute to diesel fuel degradation. This is the case for both extreme heat, which can cause lighter components of the fuel to evaporate, and extreme cold, which may lead to paraffin wax crystallization.
  • Fuel Additives – Diesel fuel that is treated with biocides or stabilizers can last longer because they fight microbial growth and oxidation. However, these additives can lose their effectiveness over time.

How to Make Your Off-Road Diesel Fuel Last Longer

Although six to twelve months in storage is standard, it is possible to extend the shelf life beyond a year if proper care is taken to clean the tank and maintain fuel quality.

Some best practices for storing and maintaining red-dyed diesel fuel include:

  • Quality Fuel Containers – It’s best to store large amounts of diesel fuel in containers like 55-gallon drums or fuel tanks. Cube-style tanks tend to have more benefits compared to cylinder-style tanks, but both should be sturdy, secure, and double-walled for added protection.
  • Cool & Dry Conditions – Fuel tanks should be kept in a cool, dry, and shaded area. Some ideal places to store them are in buildings, underground, or under a structure that shields them from the elements. This will help prevent evaporation due to heat and stop water from pooling at the top.
  • Biocides & Stabilizers – Using additives to eliminate microbial growth and oxidation will help to increase fuel longevity.

If your fuel ends up getting contaminated but you want to try to salvage it, fuel polishing and tank cleaning services are great to reclaim as much useable fuel as possible. Fuel polishing will help to filter out all foreign debris that’s causing your fuel to go bad, and tank cleaning will remove any sediment and sludge your tank may have accumulated over time.

Hart Fueling offers a comprehensive range of services to ensure your off-road diesel fuel lasts for as long as possible. Whether you are looking for quality fuel tank rentals, fuel polishing and tank cleaning, or onsite diesel delivery, we have you covered. Contact our team today to get a quote!

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