Statistics from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) show households across regions including Europe, the United States and Australia typically spend more money running their own transport than they spend on ‘clothing and footwear’ or ‘household equipment, furnishings and routine maintenance of their house.’ It may, therefore, be tempting for drivers to look for ways to cut costs and use the lowest price fuel in their passenger car, believing all service stations are selling essentially the same product. But this isn’t necessarily the case.

Generally, different service station brands in a given area will be served from the same refinery, as it is not economical to transport fuel long distances from a particular oil company’s refinery to its service stations. In order to meet a fuel specification such as EN 590 or EN228 in Europe, diesel and gasoline additives such as lubricity additives, cetane improvers and cold flow improvers will be added at the refinery. Antioxidants and anti-static additives may also be used.

Despite service stations probably using similar fuel from the same refinery, they also have the opportunity to cost-effectively differentiate their fuel offering with the use of performance or multi-functional diesel and gasoline additives. At the core of multi-functional additives is a carefully formulated blend of ingredients which can include a deposit control additive, demulsifier, anti-foam and diluent solvents, as well as anti-oxidant, lubricity improver, metal deactivator, anti-static, anti-corrosion, cetane improver and cold flow improver.

While these performance additives typically represent less than 0.1% volume of the finished fuel, they can make a real impact. For the car owner, fuels with higher performance multi-functional additives can provide improved fuel quality, increased fuel efficiency, lower emissions, increased vehicle operation and reduced long-term maintenance costs. For the service station, the opportunity exists for increased profit through greater customer satisfaction and increased customer loyalty, alongside the opportunity to command premium pricing through a differentiated and higher performance product.

When developing multi-functional diesel and gasoline additives the most important ingredient is the deposit control additive. We will discuss the importance and the benefits of deposit control additives in our next article in this 3-part series.