Winter is coming, and with it, cold weather. Even in traditionally warmer climates, freezing days or even a snowstorm might not be out of the question. And with winter, special challenges arrive for gas stations and convenience stores.
Diesel fuel contains paraffin wax, which can solidify in cold weather. Once solidified, it can clog engines and lead to stalls and repairs.
There are two types of diesel fuel: No. 1, which is more volatile, and No. 2, which is more viscous and used in most driving conditions. No. 1 diesel has a smaller amount of paraffin wax. Blend No. 1 diesel with No. 2 diesel to help reduce the chance that paraffin wax can build up and cause engine problems, BP suggests, or add Cold Flow Improver (CFI) additives. They help diesel fuels operate at lower temperatures without problems.
Storing fuel in underground tanks, rather than above-ground tanks, can help protect it from freezing in cold weather.
In addition, check regularly to make sure your fuel isn’t contaminated by water. If there’s water in the fuel, ice can form and can make it more likely for paraffin in diesel fuel to solidify.
Tanks should be checked weekly for water in any season. You will need a gas gauge stick and water-finding paste. Follow standard procedures; if water is found, bag/label the pumps in question and stop selling gas at those pumps. Contact a district manager, if relevant to your situation.
Stocking for Storms
If a winter storm is forecast for your area, plan ahead and stock essentials such as milk, water and toilet paper. Baby and pet supplies will be popular. Don’t forget beer, too.
Other consumables people might want are coffee and canned goods.
For customers’ vehicles and storm needs, also stock a no-freeze wiper fluid, salt, ice scrapers, shovels, flashlights and batteries.
Firewood is another item that might be popular during a cold-weather event.
In colder areas, have a plan for snow removal at your store. Even if your area never sees snow, storms can cause power outages and hazardous road conditions. Be prepared for both, and keep in mind that it may be difficult for employees to get to work.
Whether winter storms are common or a rare event where you do business, it pays to plan and be prepared.