Shortage produce reduction in quality?

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With some of the refineries down for a unknown period of time due to the hurricane I have a question about the quality of motor oil. Could any shortage of oil cause a reduction in motor oil or gasoline quality?
 

salesrep

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Quality is beginning to suffer. The demand is higher than there are refining facilities. Thus they are "pushing" the fuel thru the process quicker. fueltankerman I'm sure could shed some light on this. A fellow assc. recently saw a bulletin in Napa warning that a possible shortage of additves "might be a problem in wake of Katrina. Now, what napa deems additves may be otc vs.engine oil additves that we are dicussing here. I do think that blenders and refiners alike may have difficulies getting the quantites or qualities of additives and/or base stocks they are accustomed to depending on supply, current inventory, or contracts.
 
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Here in Florida, most of our gasoline is delivered by tankers to ports in Jacksonville, Tampa, and Port Everglades. When Katrina interrupted deliveries from the Gulf refineries, Citgo/BP/Shell etc. made up the difference by sourcing gas from their European and South American refineries. I wonder how the specs/quality of this fuel might differ from the US fuel? Concerning motor oil and additives, I noticed on the back of Mobil 1 bottles it now reads "Made in the USA from domestic and imported components". Since Mobil, Castrol and others blend lubricants overseas, couldn't they import any additive/basestocks which may be in short supply? [I dont know]
 
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In areas where diesel has been hard to get, some cutting with kerosene has been reported. This is done in the winter time to prevent gelling, but I'm not sure what effect it would have on fuel mileage and engine performance in the warmer months. I'm not completely familiar with the refining process to comment further on that end of things. Government standards have been "relaxed" for the time being, though, and it's possible that you could see grades of fuel that you might not have seen prior to these standard changes. High sulfur fuel--with the red dye in it--is being sold for highway use in some areas. I don't know how that fuel will perform in modern diesel engines. Not sure about gasoline. I do know that a lot of refined gasoline is being carried across the Atlantic to us on barges, courtesy of the large oil companies. Whether the process used to refine this gasoline is equivalent to what we use here I do not know. Let's hope that by late November things will look a lot more normal. [Smile] Dan
 
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quote:
Originally posted by fuel tanker man: High sulfur fuel--with the red dye in it--is being sold for highway use in some areas.
Huh? Does each state set different standards for this kind of thing? Where I used to farm (Washington State and Arizona) the off-road diesel has been low-sulfur for years. It's the same thing as on-road, it just gets dyed so that when the DOT sticks the tanks on the trucks and pickups they can issue a $10,000 ticket. In fact, the dye is normally (always?) added either when the shuttle tanker truck is loading up to deliver to the farm or even by that truck driver when he delivers at the farm tank. There shouldn't be any performance issues because the sulfur helped lubricate the fuel pumps. That lubricant had to be replaced with other stuff when the sulfur levels went down, so if anything the fuel should now be even more lubricious (sp?).
 

Mystic

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Thanks for all the replies to my question. I kind of figured there could be a quality slip in motor oil quality, gasoline quality, and diesel fuel quality if a shortage developed for crude oil. It just stands to reason that a shortage of crude oil could also produce a shortage of chemical additives. This can be due to several factors. Of course one thing is that it may simply become hard to find enough chemical additives. But in addition as the price of motor oil, gasoline, etc. climb, there may be pressure to try to sell at a lower price by cutting back on quality. The federal government used to do random sampling of motor oil and at times in the past there were numerous cases of samples being found that had low additive content. And motor oil of the same brand can be very different depending on where the motor oil is purchased in the United States. I don't know if random samplying is still done or not but I feel it should be done. I remember a long-time mechanic telling me to use high octane gasoline on an occasional basis to clean the injectors and the fuel system. He seemed to feel that additive content in gasoline was lower in the detergent additives then in the more high priced higher octane fuel. Witout a doubt diesel fuel can be tampered with. Winter diesel fuel has a higher kerosene content then summer diesel fuel, which is more like home heating oil.
 

salesrep

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quote:
random sampling of motor oil and at times in the past there were numerous cases of samples being found that had low additive content.
This is still the case and min specs are subject to not being met.
quote:
This can be due to several factors. Of course one thing is that it may simply become hard to find enough chemical additives. But in addition as the price of motor oil, gasoline, etc. climb, there may be pressure to try to sell at a lower price by cutting back on quality.
Good point mystic, reckon the feds will monitor this possibility closely... [I dont know] doubt it.
 
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I agree. The States are vastly better at checking on things and <i>trying</i> to address deficiencies. Unfortunately they often lack the reach and extent of the feds, and they always lack the feds' funding.
 
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