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Fuel stabilizers are chemical elements and/or agents added to conventional fuel with the aim of maintaining it at an optimal status over a long period of time, usually under storage as is the case with most petroleum products. In short, they are fuel treatments (agents added to fuel to ensure that it is at its most potent form by the time of utilization). The quality of fuel is directly affected by external factors such as contact with air, moisture and even varying temperatures. When fuels are exposed to air, oxidation takes place and this undermines performance in terms of combustion. When fuel stays over a considerable period of time, both mild external and internal reactions may alter their efficiency. For example, fuel stored in airtight cylinders may still experience accumulation of microelements; thus decreasing its potency. All of us at some point; have encountered the term “stale gas”. This has nothing to do with the amount of time the fuel has stayed in one place, but rather the amount of elements allowed to “mingle” with the fuel.
This is where fuel stabilizers come in. Fuel stabilizers serve multiple roles. The first role of fuel stabilizers is elongating the life span of fuel. They are used simply to keep fuel usable after a longer period of time from the point of manufacture. The other role is to maintain the fuel’s strength or potency after prolonged period(s) of storage.
The effect of fuel stabilizers may not be felt on a normal perspective because we always pay attention to the external manifestations around engines and automobiles. But every one of us expects his/her machine to start at the first turn of the ignition key. If not, the machine is expected to run smoothly and carry out its tasks efficiently. So, what does one do when his/her engine does not respond as expected? Prevention and maintenance are terms associated with machinery without really specifying what it entails. Fuel stabilizers assist in getting rid of fuel deposits in engines. Sometimes, machines are kept away for a considerable amount of time before the next time of usage. The fuel in the engines during this period has to be preserved or otherwise it may be rendered useless. Worse yet, it may hamper the normal operation of the engine. Fuel stabilizers limit degradation.
One fact unknown to many users is that fuel types are distinguished with regards to the fuel stabilizers in their composition. Fuel treatments are meant to cater for either short term or long term engine requirements. Fuel that is guaranteed to be utilized in a short period of time will definitely not have the same composition of stabilizers as that which will stay for long under storage. End users are advised to use fuel with octane rating of not less than 87. This is one benchmark which many biofuels have failed to meet, but that is another topic altogether. While some fuel brands boast of increased performance, they fall short in terms of staying moisture – free. After prolonged periods, the users may realize that the extra performance comes at a cost with regards to engine health as well as overall service.