Is the future of the fuel industry electric?

Early this year, General Motors made a landmark announcement. They decided that by 2035 they will only sell zero-emission cars and trucks. This announcement came a day after President Biden signed a new executive order on climate change and represented a striking change for the company. General Motors was previously suing the state of California for its high fuel standards. It was a shock for many and a sign of the direction the industry may be moving in.

For over fifty years, we’ve been a California fuel and lubricant supplier. We’ve seen many changes come and go, such as new rules and emissions standards. In the past few years, as climate change has only gotten worse, the trend toward electric vehicle adoption has only grown, but the U.S. still lags behind much of the world. Only 3% of the vehicles in the US are electric. But that number is expected to multiply.

Transportation is the largest source of carbon pollution in the US. Transitioning to electric vehicles is one way to reduce carbon emissions, but it would have to be a significant shift. Research from Carnegie Mellon University found that 80% of miles driven in the US will need to be electrified to produce a significant drop in carbon emissions. That’s roughly 100 to 200 million electric vehicles. In 2019, plug-in electric vehicle sales reached 327,000. But even though the numbers are low now, the industry believes that widespread adoption of electric cars is coming.

Electric vehicle sales are becoming more popular, and automakers are making electric vehicles a priority. By 2025 electric vehicle sales will hit 10% of all passenger vehicles, rising to 28% in 2030 and 58% in 2040, according to a study from BNEF. Across the globe, the US is the slowest to embrace this trend. Electric cars are expected to account for as much as 50% of all cars sold in Europe and China by 2030.

So what does this mean for you and your business? As a fuel supplier, we know how vital fuel is for your work. Our customers rely on gasoline, diesel, and other fossil fuel-based lubricants to power their vehicles, machinery, and heavy equipment. Will it all go electric? The answer is a little murky. No one can definitively say when the switch will happen or how it will affect the local economy. After the rollercoaster year of 2020, we can all agree that attempting to predict the future is a mixed bag. But we can try to make sense of where the fuel industry is and where it hopes to go in the next few years. Here are a few things to consider.

  • Electric car infrastructure. Going electric is a great choice if you have the charging stations to support it. Right now, the infrastructure for widespread charging is not in place in the United States. The charging grid is a patchwork of stations across the nation. The average electric vehicle requires 30-kilowatt hours to travel 100 miles. That’s the equivalent electricity one American home uses each day. That’s quite a bit. We will need significant investment into building fast-charging stations across the nation.
  • Stable power supply. This year, a huge winter storm devastated our neighbors in Texas. Temperatures dropped lower than ever, and much of the state suffered from power outages due to record-high electricity demand. Texas is a unique case as they have their own grid designed for their needs. It was not prepared for the record low temperatures or increased demand. Severe weather is increasing, and its effect on our society and infrastructure cannot be ruled out. One of the reasons fossil fuels remain so popular is how easily these fuels can be utilized in inclement temperatures. Increased power supply from intermittent resources like solar and wind energy could affect a stable power supply.
  • Heavy equipment will make the transition slower. Investing in heavy equipment isn’t cheap. Buying a backhoe or an excavator is not the same as buying a car. These machines are designed for heavy use and long lifespans. Businesses will not be able to quickly switch over to electric alternatives, and there are still only a limited number of electric options available on the market. It’s more likely that the EPA and other government agencies will introduce progressive targets to reduce emissions from heavy construction equipment first.
  • New lubricants will need to be developed for electric engine technology. Electric engines may not need engine oil, but they may still need some form of lubrication. The oil industry’s role in the development of lubricants may increase as the years go on. Lubricant manufacturers may also begin to develop new synthetic lubricants with specialized formulas for electric engines. Many of our customers who use lubricants for their business will have to adapt to these changes and adopt new products with electric motors.
  • It will take significant time and money to switch refineries over. Refining fossil fuels to create gasoline, diesel, and other lubricants is a complicated, energy-intensive process. The refinery and industrial industries accounted for nearly 27% of all carbon emissions in 2019. The industry is looking for ways to reduce its energy consumption and carbon output, but it is a significant endeavor. Refineries and industrial plants are a considerable investment of time and money. The technology they use is complex. You can’t just switch out a few gears and go electric. The refinery industry will have to make significant investments to revamp equipment and switch to electric processes. These upgrades will not be cheap or easy to make.

As a bulk fuel delivery company, we keep an eye on these types of industry changes. It’s the smart thing to do, and as a business owner, you should do the same. Bulk fuel use is not going anywhere quickly, but change is coming. Industries and businesses will have to make changes as new methods and technologies are developed. That’s the way the world works. The best thing you can do as a business owner is stay informed and be prepared. The future is changing, and how it will affect the fuel industry is yet to be seen. For now, trust that we are here to support your business with the bulk fuel, diesel, gasoline, and lubricant supplies that you need.

Early Bird Sponsor of the 2021 St Jude Dream Home Giveaway

St. Jude has partnered with Sinclair Broadcast Group and John Balfanz Homes, as well as many other local companies, to build and give away the 17th annual St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway house in Bakersfield, CA.

We are proud to announce that we are the Early Bird Sponsor of the St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway for the fourth year in a row! As part of our sponsorship, we will be giving away FREE FUEL FOR A YEAR to a very lucky winner!

To be entered into the drawing for a chance to win the St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway and/or one of several other main prizes, Kern County residents can reserve a ticket for $100 by visiting dreamhome.org or by calling 800-385-9134. Purchase your ticket by Friday, March 19th for your chance to win our prize of FUEL FOR A YEAR.

Ticket proceeds benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, which is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases.

Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food – because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.

Treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20 percent to 80 percent since the hospital opened more than 50 years ago.

Tune in to Eyewitness News to see the drawing for the house and all other prizes on April 29, 2021.

Help us make a difference and join the fight to end childhood cancer. Purchase your ticket today!

Let's talk engine coolant

As a southern California fuel supplier, it may seem strange to talk about engine coolant. The temperature is always perfect here (we’re kidding). No matter where you live, coolant is as essential to your engine as oil, especially in modern engines. Heavy-duty engines produce exceptional amounts of heat energy, and without coolant, that energy can overheat your engine and cause problems.

Engine coolant works by balancing out the heat produced as the engine runs. In the first days of the modern combustion engine, radiators were filled with water to cool things down. Now we use coolants, which are usually a 50/50 mix of ethylene glycol and water. Some engine coolants also contain inhibitors, anti-foams, dyes, and other additives. There are four main types of coolants. Here’s a quick breakdown of the different varieties:

  • Inorganic Acid Technology (IAT): This type of coolant is the most commonly used in cars and light-duty trucks. It’s derived from low- silicate materials and is usually pink or green. They often contain additives to prevent pitting and corrosion and require frequent service and flushing to keep the engine working properly.
  • Organic Acid Technology (OAT): These coolants are derived from organic acids, which gives them a long service life. They are often used in heavy and light-duty diesel engines, natural gas, and some gasoline engines.
  • Nitrite Organic Acid Technology (NOAT): These coolants are similar to OAT coolants but contain nitrite for better liner pitting protection. They often offer extended service and are used mainly in heavy-duty engines.
  • Hybrid Organic Acid Technology (HOAT): These types of coolants are a combination of IAT and OAT coolants, containing both low silicate and nitrite elements.

Modern coolants are designed to keep the temperature balanced in the engine. But today’s modern engines run hotter and faster than ever before to meet increased fuel efficiency demands. That means that choosing the right coolant for your engine is more important. The wrong coolant could lead to engine damage, reduced fuel efficiency, and increased emissions.

Many of our customers use NOAT coolants for their heavy-duty equipment. These types of coolants are great for heavy-duty engines, and many offer extra engine protection. But one of the big issues caused by the use of NOAT coolants is increased corrosion. Over the years, equipment manufacturers have changed the materials they used to build engines, and aluminum has been increasingly utilized. Many engines now feature Controlled Atmosphere Brazing (CAB) aluminum radiators and engine components. The nitrites in NOAT coolants can interact with aluminum that has undergone this process and cause corrosion, pitting, and engine failure.

To help prevent these issues, Chevron introduced Delo ELC Advanced coolant. This NOAT formula coolant uses new patented technology to stop the coolant’s nitrites from interacting with the radiators’ aluminum. The formula reduces equipment downtime for repairs and maximizes engine performance, even in extreme conditions, and lasts longer between service intervals. If you think that this coolant would be a good fit for your heavy-duty engines, ask our team about adding it to your regular order.

Corrosion isn’t the only engine issue that coolant problems can cause. Ensuring that your engine coolant system is in good working order is an essential part of a regular maintenance schedule. If you don’t make engine coolant system maintenance a priority, your engines could be at risk of:

  • Corrosion
  • Liner cavitation
  • Engine Failure
  • Overheating or Engine Freezing

So what can you do to keep your coolant system in good working order? Here are a few of the best practices for proper engine coolant maintenance.

  • First, make sure that you are using the right coolant for your engine’s needs. Follow your equipment manufacturer’s guidelines for coolant selection or a trusted mechanic’s recommendation. Many industries use a coolant color guide to determine which type to use. This may be effective, but many coolant formulas have or are changing colors, and some of these guidelines may be incomplete or out of date. Always make sure you are using the most up to date information for your coolant maintenance.
  • Always make sure that your coolant system is operating properly. You don’t want to have too little coolant in the system as it will not protect the engine. Regularly check your coolant levels as well as the overflow tank and radiator cap. Radiator caps are an integral part of the coolant system as they hold in the pressure. If the cap is damaged or not working properly there won’t be enough pressure to ensure proper operation.
  • Regularly test your coolant. Analysis of your coolant can determine if any degradation is happening. Over dilution with water or contamination can cause the coolant to break down and lead to engine issues like corrosion. Make sure that your coolant is tested for proper pH levels. You want to make sure that your coolant’s pH is always above 6.5. Anything lower will be too acidic.
  • Follow proper service intervals. Regularly flushing out your system and replenishing the coolant is essential maintenance for a heavy-duty engine. These days coolants are designed for longer service intervals, so always consult your service manual or follow your technician’s advice.
  • Avoid mixing different coolants. It’s always a best practice to make sure that you stick with one type of coolant instead of mixing several together. It used to be considered okay to interchange coolant types but now that many coolants contain a variety of additives and other chemicals it’s best to flush out your radiator system before making a switch.

We know that there are so many coolant options out there. Picking the right one for your needs isn’t always easy. Let us help you find the right products. We know your business and how you use your equipment. We are here to help you order the products that will prolong your equipment’s life. Call us to place your order today.