Diesel Fuel Additives to Reduce Emissions: How to Choose

Diesel Fuel Additives to Reduce Emissions

Trying to pick the right diesel fuel additive might seem confusing, like finding the perfect seasoning for your favorite dish. But don’t worry, it’s not as complicated as it sounds!

In this article, we’re going to break down everything you need to know about choosing diesel fuel additives that help cut down on nasty emissions. These additives are a bit like a secret sauce for your diesel engine – they not only help make the air cleaner by reducing pollution but can also keep your engine running smoothly.

So, whether you’re a truck driver, a farmer, or just someone who cares about the environment, we’ve got you covered. Let’s get started on this easy guide to picking the best diesel fuel additives for a cleaner, greener drive!

Brands of Diesel Fuel Additives to Reduce Emissions

When choosing a diesel fuel additive to reduce emissions, several brands offer distinct advantages tailored to different needs:

  1. Win Diesel Fuel Additive: This additive is known for promoting a more complete fuel burn, which optimizes engine performance and leads to fewer emissions. It also protects against corrosion and microbial growth in the fuel tank. One of its key benefits is the protection and efficiency improvement of the Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF), which is crucial for reducing emissions in diesel engines.
  2. Howes Diesel Treat Diesel Conditioner and Anti-Gel: Ideal for cold weather performance, this additive excels in removing water from diesel, which helps prevent corrosion. It also improves fuel efficiency and prevents diesel fuel from gelling, a common problem in colder climates.
  3. STA-BIL 360° Performance with Vapor Technology: This product stands out with its vapor technology, offering protection for both above and below the fuel line, thereby helping to prevent corrosion. It also aids in cleaning the engine and stabilizing diesel, making it a strong choice for older vehicles and diesel storage.
  4. Stanadyne Diesel Performance Formula: This formula is notable for its cleaning capabilities, particularly of the injection system. It improves fuel economy and protects engine parts like injection pumps and nozzles. The alcohol-free formula helps avoid corrosion and water absorption, and it’s compatible with biodiesel blends, making it a versatile choice.
  5. Ford Motorcraft Cetane Booster: Designed specifically for Ford Power Stroke diesels, this booster combats the effects of low-quality diesel and boosts the cetane rating for better starting performance and smoother engine operation. It adds lubricity to reduce engine wear and helps with fuel stability and algae growth prevention.
  6. Power Service Diesel 911: This additive is a rescue solution for already gelled diesel fuel lines and frozen fuel filters. It’s particularly useful in winter emergencies and for re-liquefying gelled diesel.
  7. Star Brite Star Tron Gas Tank & Fuel System Cleaner: This cleaner addresses issues with the diesel tank itself, such as corrosion and sludge buildup. It breaks down contaminants and is compatible with ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD), revitalizing bad fuel in the tank.
  8. Opti-Lube Ag Formula Diesel Fuel Additive: Designed for agricultural equipment, this additive adds lubricity, essential for older off-highway diesel engines. It keeps water and diesel separate in the tank, inhibiting bacteria and algae growth. It’s ideal for longer storage and boosts the cetane rating for better cold starts and fuel economy.
  9. LIQUI MOLY Super Diesel Additive: A well-known brand in Europe, this additive is designed for all conventional and bio-diesel fuels. It is compatible with turbochargers, diesel particulate filters, and catalytic converters, making it a versatile choice for modern diesel engines.

Each of these additives offers unique benefits, from improving fuel efficiency and engine performance to protecting against corrosion and gelling. When choosing an additive, consider your specific needs, such as the type of diesel engine, the climate you operate in, and whether you need additional protection for storage or cold weather conditions​

Read related article: Diesel Additive for Storage: How To Choose What’s Best For You

Choosing the Right Diesel Fuel Additive

When it comes to selecting the right diesel fuel additive to reduce emissions, there are several key factors to consider. Here’s a guide to help you make an informed choice:

1. Understand Your Engine Type

  • Different Needs for Different Engines: Diesel engines vary from small vehicles to large industrial machines. Each type might require a specific kind of additive.
  • Check Engine Specifications: Look at your engine’s user manual or manufacturer’s specifications to understand its needs.

2. Identifying the Right Additive for Emission Reduction

  • Emission Reduction Focus: Some additives are formulated specifically to reduce emissions like NOx, particulate matter, and CO2.
  • Key Additive Types: Look for cetane improvers (for better combustion), detergents (for cleaner engine internals), and lubricity enhancers (for reduced friction and wear).

3. Compatibility with Your Engine and Fuel Quality

  • Match Additive to Fuel Type: Ensure the additive is compatible with the type of diesel fuel you use (e.g., low-sulfur diesel).
  • Be Aware of Biodiesel Blends: If you use biodiesel blends, make sure the additive is suitable for them.

4. Following Manufacturer’s Guidelines

  • Adhere to Recommendations: Always follow the guidelines provided by your engine’s manufacturer regarding additives.
  • Avoid Overuse: More isn’t always better. Using too much additive can harm your engine.

5. Consider Environmental Standards

  • Regulatory Compliance: Check if the additive meets local and international emission standards.
  • Eco-Friendly Formulations: Opt for additives that are environmentally friendly.

6. Quality and Brand Reputation

  • Research Brands: Choose additives from reputable manufacturers with positive reviews and proven track records.
  • Avoid Unknown Brands: Be cautious with lesser-known brands or extremely cheap options.

7. Seek Professional Advice

  • Consult a Mechanic: If unsure, consult with a diesel mechanic or a professional in the field.
  • Dealer Recommendations: Dealerships can also provide valuable advice based on your specific vehicle model.

Choosing the right diesel fuel additive is crucial for optimizing engine performance and reducing emissions. By understanding your engine’s requirements, focusing on emission-reducing additives, ensuring compatibility, following manufacturer guidelines, and selecting reputable brands, you can contribute to a cleaner environment while maintaining your engine’s health. Remember, when in doubt, professional advice can be invaluable.

Some Practical Tips for Choosing

When choosing and using diesel fuel additives, keep these practical tips in mind:

  1. Reading Labels: Look for specific information like the type of additive (e.g., cetane improver, detergent), suitable engine types, and recommended usage. Check the concentration levels indicated in parts per million (ppm) to understand the potency.
  2. Understanding Concentrations: Higher ppm doesn’t always mean better performance. Match the concentration levels to your engine’s needs and the severity of its operation.
  3. Following Manufacturer Guidelines: Always adhere to the recommendations provided by your engine’s manufacturer. Using the wrong type or amount of additive can harm your engine.
  4. Safety Measures: Handle additives carefully. Follow safety instructions on the label, especially regarding storage and handling to avoid spills or skin contact.
  5. Regular Use: For best results, use additives regularly as part of your maintenance routine, not just as a one-time fix.
  6. Monitor Engine Performance: Pay attention to changes in engine performance or fuel efficiency after using additives. This can help you assess their effectiveness.

By understanding and applying these tips, you can make more informed choices about diesel fuel additives, ensuring better engine health and emission control.

Types of Diesel Engines and Suitable Additives

Different diesel engines like trucks, buses, and agricultural machinery require specific additives for optimal performance and emission reduction:

  • Trucks: Heavy-duty trucks benefit from additives that enhance fuel efficiency and reduce engine wear, such as cetane improvers and friction modifiers. These help in smoother operation and lower emissions, especially important for long-haul trucks.
  • Buses: Urban buses need additives that focus on reducing exhaust emissions like particulate matter and nitrogen oxides. Additives with detergents and dispersants are suitable to keep the engine clean and running efficiently.
  • Agricultural Machinery: For farm equipment, which often deals with varying operational periods and storage, additives that improve fuel stability and prevent microbial growth are essential. Look for products that also enhance lubricity, as many agricultural machines have older engines.

The key is to choose additives that align with the specific demands of the engine type and its operational environment. Always refer to the engine manufacturer’s guidelines for the best recommendations.

How Additives Help Reduce Emissions

Diesel fuel additives play a significant role in reducing emissions from diesel engines. Key additives like cetane improvers, detergents, dispersants, and oxidation catalysts target specific aspects of emission control:

  1. Cetane Improvers: Increase the cetane number of diesel fuel, improving combustion efficiency and thereby reducing emissions of unburned hydrocarbons and particulate matter. A rise in cetane number by 5 points can cut hydrocarbon emissions by up to 10%.
  2. Detergents and Dispersants: Keep fuel injectors clean, ensuring optimal fuel spray patterns, which in turn reduces particulate matter and nitrogen oxides emissions by up to 15%.
  3. Oxidation Catalysts: Promote the oxidation of carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons in the exhaust stream, potentially reducing these emissions by 20-30%.

Case studies have shown measurable impacts of these additives on emissions. For instance, a fleet of urban buses that used a fuel additive package including cetane improvers and oxidation catalysts saw a 25% reduction in particulate matter emissions and a 15% reduction in nitrogen oxides emissions. In another example, a long-haul trucking company that implemented a fuel additive blend with high detergent and dispersant concentrations achieved a 10% reduction in particulate matter emissions.

These examples illustrate how the correct selection and application of diesel fuel additives can effectively lower the levels of harmful emissions from diesel engines, contributing significantly to environmental sustainability and compliance with emissions regulations. The effectiveness of these additives in reducing emissions is evident across various diesel engine applications, from urban buses to long-haul trucks and construction equipment​.


Choosing the right diesel fuel additive isn’t just about keeping your engine running smoothly; it’s also a step towards cleaner air. By understanding the specific needs of your diesel engine, whether it’s a heavy-duty truck or a piece of farm equipment, and selecting the appropriate additives, you can significantly reduce harmful emissions. Remember, the key is to read labels carefully, understand the concentrations needed for your engine, and always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines. With the right additives, you’re not just maintaining your engine; you’re contributing to a healthier environment.

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