Top-Tier Diesel Debuts

Costco, Fast Stop among first sites to offer certified fuel

MIDLAND, Mich. -- Top Tier certified diesel has made its U.S. debut.

The Top Tier diesel performance standard is a complement to the Top Tier detergent standard for gasoline, which eight automakers developed in 2004 to ensure fuel quality, as well as vehicle performance and compliance with tougher emissions requirements. A consortium of diesel original equipment manufacturers developed the diesel standard for use in modern diesel engines with high-pressure common rail (HPCR) technology, which has smaller tolerances and higher fuel pressures.

The Top Tier diesel program is designed to prevent performance issues, especially as stricter emissions requirements collide with newer diesel varieties such as biodiesel, Shailesh Lopes, GM senior fuel projects engineer, told CSP Daily News this past summer. 

Retailer Costco, Issaquah, Wash., is now offering Top Tier certified diesel at 65 sites. Any of its future diesel locations will also offer Top Tier certified fuel, Rebecca Monroe, fuel trademark lead for GM, told CSP Daily News. And Growmark’s Fast Stop convenience-store chain, based in Bloomington, Ill., has added Top Tier certified diesel to 12 sites. According to the Midland, Mich.-based Top Tier program, licensing agreements with other fuel marketers are in the works.

To be certified, a fuel marketer must demonstrate its diesel meets five components relating to detergency, stability and lubricity, as well as two “housekeeping requirements,” Lopes said. One is the use of a 10-micron filter at the dispenser to limit contaminants. The other requires water controls: either a water-absorbing medium or a water-control system for the site’s underground storage tank.

Like the Top Tier gasoline-certification program, the diesel program has a licensing fee based on the number of a brand’s participating locations. But unlike the gasoline program, which requires all of a brand’s sites to participate, the diesel program allows fuel marketers to certify locations of their choice. This is in recognition of the issues some may have in meeting the certification standards based on the availability of diesel additives in some markets.

Separately, Top Tier's international program continues to roll out to more countries. Chevron now offers Top Tier certified gasoline in Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and at Texaco sites in Panama. Puma offers certified gasoline at its branded locations in El Salvador and Panama, and Andeavor offers it at its Arco locations in Mexico. Top Tier certified gasoline is now available in eight countries.

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