We are less than a week away from the full-blown holiday season. As part of your company's fleet management program, are your trucks ready to be sitting still for several days during the back-to-back holiday weeks?
This time of year, it can be very tricky to predict the weather in most parts of the country, and it's better to be safe than sorry.

Every part of the country has its weather issues this time of year for fleet fuel if you are not properly taking care of your fuel supply. In brief, let's take a look at different parts of the country:

North & Northeast: When not properly treated during the cold weather, ultra low sulfur diesel fuel can gel and leave your fleet standing still.

South & Southwest: During dramatic swings in temperature this time of year, your fuel tanks can pick up extra moisture, causing algae to grow in your fuel tanks.

The rest of the country sits in the middle of both of these conditions, so what should you do before the holidays?

In the South, we would recommend treating your diesel fuel with a fuel additive that takes moisture out of the fuel. This will help microbial (bacteria) from occurring and algae from forming. If you have too much moisture in your diesel fuel, this kind of contamination can lead to fuel filter plugging and can cause equipment failure. In the South, it is always a little easier to take care of fleet fuel over the holiday season.

In the North, there are several steps that each fleet management program should try to use during the holiday season:

* Make sure fuel filters on your trucks have been changed.
* Drain the water bottom of your trucks' fuel tanks and bulk tanks.
* All fleet fuel should be treated with some kind of fuel additive that helps prevents gelling and aids against fuel filter icing. Use Kerosene if it's really cold.
* Park your trucks inside if possible or plug your trucks in.
* Have some containers of winter middle distillate fuel additive on hand. This should be used if your fleet fuel has gelled. It will help soften congealed fuel and help return it to a liquid state.

These little steps can make coming in after a long holiday weekend a lot easier to deal with. It is always better to be working two steps ahead of the issues instead of one step behind. Remember when it comes to diesel fuel, water is the enemy. The better you deal with it, the easier it will be. Happy Holidays!

Glen Sokolis is president of Sokolis Group, a nationwide fuel management and fuel consulting company, www.FuelManagementSokolisGroup.com. You can reach him at [email protected] or (267) 482-6160.

Previous installments of "Friday Fuel:"
* "Successful Fuel Management Program Equals Discipline", 9-11-09
* "Who's Watching Your Fuel Program," 9-18-09
* "Fleet Fuel Margins: Are You Paying Too Much?" 9-25-09
* "How Do You Audit Your Fleet Fuel Invoices?" 10-2-09
* "Fleet Fuel Price Negotiating: Details, Details", 10-9-09
* "Mobile On-Site Fueling", 10-16-09
* "The Bees Are Still Buzzing: Handling Fuel on a Daily Basis", 10-23-09
* "Fleet Fuel Card Shopping", 10-30-09
* "Is Your Fuel Management Ready for Winter?", 11-6-09
* "Don't Let the Weather Freeze Your Deliveries", 11-13-09
* "Fuel Management or Fuel Inventory? That is the Question", 11-20-09
"Put Your Fleet Fueling Policy in Place For 2010, Part I", 12-4-09
"Put Your Fleet Fueling Policy in Place For 2010, Part II", 12-11-09