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Old 09-22-2015, 01:00 PM   #1
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Location: Portland, Oregon
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Diesel Price vs Grade

I’ve come to realize that all “diesel” is not created equally, and the pricing on GasBuddy doesn’t apparently distinquish blends from #2. My Sprinter Owners Manual states the following:

You will damage the diesel engine if you do not refuel with ultra-low sulfur diesel or use a diesel fuel with a sulfur content greater than 15 ppm.

Do not use the following:
• Marine diesel
• Heating oil
• Vegetable oil
• Gasoline
• Paraffin
• Kerosene

Do not mix such fuels with diesel fuel and do not use any special additives. This can otherwise lead to engine damage. This does not include flow improver additives.

You will generally find information about the fuel grade on the filling pump. If there is no identification on the filling pump, consult a gas station attendant.

When sourcing the best diesel pricing I have relied on using name-brand as a first filter and then by price, but sometimes even Shell is pumping bio-blend. So far I have stuck with Chevron for consistent (albet sometimes expensive) #2 Diesel, but Chevron gets scarce when I go East to the Rockies.

Is there anything available to verify grade of fuel at a particular service station, short of calling ahead and hoping the cashier has half a clue to what is being pumped?

Thanks in advance for your comments.

2015 Prism 2150 LE / Sprinter 3500
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Old 09-22-2015, 01:34 PM   #2
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I have not seen anything other than low sulfur fuel at a fuel stop. Even the off road fuel now days is low sulfur fuel, just a different color to tell the difference due to lower taxes. When you get out of the U.S. then it's another story, you can't get low sulfur fuel in a lot of other countries.

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Old 09-22-2015, 02:09 PM   #3
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Supposedly, up to B5 is acceptable for Mercedes. But, some states do mandate higher blends.
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Old 09-22-2015, 02:44 PM   #4
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Not all bio-diesel is created equal. A big commercial producer is probably OK but Clem's backyard french-fry oil conversion still is probably not. Therefore a blanket prohibition is easier for the manufacturer and his lawyers to deal with. All the others are illegal for use as an on-road fuel whether your engine would like them or not.
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Old 09-23-2015, 11:36 AM   #5
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The 2010, 3500 Sprinter I used to own listed B5 as acceptable. As mentioned, some jurisdictions push B20 (20% bio, 80% "regular" diesel). You should be OK with a major brand of B20 BUT, when storing your diesel rig, try to have as little "Bio" in the fuel system as possible. If you must store your diesel with bio-blend fuel, start and run the engine at least monthly and, long enough to get the engine up to normal operating temperature.
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Old 09-23-2015, 12:14 PM   #6
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I encountered the BioDiesel problem on our last trip and there is a previous thread covering this. My 2014 Sprinter chassis is labeled B5 max. However Mercedes has "softened" now that they must accept the fact that depending on where you are B20 may be all you can get. The guidelines are basically use Major Brand Fuel, ( I save all fuel receipts ). Keep your tank full when parked, as B20 is prone to absorbing moisture so you want as little air space in the tank as possible. Check your oil level regularly as there is a possibility that B20 fuel can find its way into the oil pan raising the level and if so change immediately. I know that my unit runs better gives better fuel mileage and has more power in the mountains on B5. So hopefully our politicians will someday end the BioDiesel fantasy .
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Old 09-23-2015, 01:36 PM   #7
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Now that we have low sulfur fuel, corn farmers like me are applying about 20 pounds of needed sulfur per acre to make up for what the corn crop used to convert from the air.

We used to have an 85% soy based fuel that I would run in my power strokes that made the exhaust smell like French fries!
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Old 08-21-2016, 08:04 PM   #8
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We had nothing but problems with B20. Commonly seen out west. The decrease in mpg and power were extreme. Not worth the lower price in my opinion.
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Old 08-21-2016, 08:46 PM   #9
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I avoid bio if at all possible. Bio requires a blue label on the pump. In GA I stopped in Kingsland for a few days. Pilot had B20 37 cents higher than BP & Shell across the street where truckers (and my 5er) could not maneuver. The fuel across the street was the real stuff. Close to home Esso has the real stuff 1 penny less than Walmart (Murphy) with B20. Walmart ~ pay more get less.
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Old 08-21-2016, 09:03 PM   #10
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Diesel is running 34 cents higher than gas in Connecticut this week.

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