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Old 08-13-2014, 11:07 AM   #1
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Diesel Exhaust Fluid

So, this isn't going to be quite as bad as I feared. The new truck has 2100 miles on it and still shows the DEF tank to be 7/8 full. But, I haven't researched this at all, yet, and I'm wondering... Where do you get this stuff and how much are you paying for it? It's just urea and water... so I'm curious as to whether the public is getting gouged... OK... not curious, but sure...

Thanks in advance...
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Old 08-13-2014, 11:14 AM   #2
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Wal-Mart, $13 for a 2.5 gallon container, or Flying J at the pump, $2.79/gal. Either way it won't break you.
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Old 08-13-2014, 12:05 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schrederman View Post
So, this isn't going to be quite as bad as I feared. The new truck has 2100 miles on it and still shows the DEF tank to be 7/8 full. But, I haven't researched this at all, yet, and I'm wondering... Where do you get this stuff and how much are you paying for it? It's just urea and water... so I'm curious as to whether the public is getting gouged... OK... not curious, but sure...

Thanks in advance...

Jack,


DEF is not just Urea and Water combination it is a chemical mix of these components.
Diesel exhaust fluid (DEF), commonly referred to as AdBlue in Europe and standardised as ISO 22241[1] is an aqueous urea solution made with 32.5% high-purity urea (AUS 32) and 67.5% deionized water. DEF is used as a consumable in selective catalytic reduction (SCR) in order to lower NOx concentration in the diesel exhaust emissions from diesel engines.[2]


The only place where you can get ripped off as you say is from the dealer I have read where they are charging much more than the market price for DEF. Napa and other retailers also sell DEF in containers at various prices but the lowest cost is at truck stops that cater to large SEMI trucks.

Jim W.
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Old 08-13-2014, 12:15 PM   #4
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Saw it 'on the pump' at most truckstops northern tx/ central colorado we visited. Freaked me out the first time. It wasnt clear to me which was diesel and which was def
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Old 08-13-2014, 01:07 PM   #5
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This is a great topic.

On DEF and DEF manufacturing:

DEF is exactly two ingredients as specified in ISO22241-1 Quality Requirements: Pure water and technical pure urea. Contaminants are very tightly controlled to assure the DEF does not affect the catalyst that is used in the SCR system.

Most DEF manufacturing is accomplished at large chemical facilities. It is usually made at a higher concentration of urea and then transported by rail to hubs where it is further diluted and then distributed by tank truck. Alternatively, DEF is manufactured by "blenders" or "dissolvers" in areas where transportation is expensive. Technical pure urea is purchased in 1900 lb. super sacks, and then dissolved in pure water, usually produced by reverse osmosis. It is then packaged in jugs or transported by tanker truck to wholesalers. I've priced one of these dissolving plants (from the proven builder of the equipment) that can make about 500,000 gallons per year and they are on the order of $150,000 NOT including land, buildings etc.

Regardless of how it is made, the process used is tightly controlled and subject to extensive quality control. DEF sample testing (on a batch basis) is required prior to distribution to bulk stations or packaging in jugs. Dedicated rail cars and truck trailers are required to avoid contamination. Testing is expensive, typically $6-800 at a certified lab.

Technical Pure Urea costs are not a secret: current market price is 325-350 $/ton, not including delivery. This works out to about $.17/pound at the source. There are 3 lb. of technical pure urea in each gallon of DEF and 6 lb. of pure water. So, $.51 for urea, and about $.09 for the water (primarily the cost of energy to purify the water) results in $.60 per gallon COST, not including and transportation, processing, markup, etc.

The price at the pump is around $2.79/gallon. The price for DEF delivered to large trucking companies that fill their trucks themselves is under $1 per gallon (they often have 900 gallon bulk tanks and their own dispensing gear).

Jug prices are much higher than this due to the cost of the jug (about $1), distribution costs, filling costs, etc.

On DEF market data:

In 2009, DEF sales in North America were essentially zero. In 2013, over 350 million gallons of DEF were sold in North America. The market projection for 2017 is 850 million gallons. Worldwide, DEF is used extensively in Europe. South America is now starting. China will be next, probably before 2020. DEF is big business, and competition is fierce.

All DEF marked ISO22241-1 and API certified has been manufactured in accordance with ISO22241-1 and will work in your clean diesel vehicle. As in all human endeavors, it is possible that a DEF manufacturer would cut corners and use non-conforming materials and processes. Cases of this have been reported in industry but they are very uncommon.

Purchasing bulk DEF at a truck stop is a great way to economize compared with jugs and keeps jugs out of landfills. It is also reasonable to purchase "reserve" DEF for later use by using an appropriate container and spout. While retail jugs are usually intended for one time use, with appropriate care, they can be used for purchasing bulk DEF. There are also purpose built jugs and spouts available that are intended for this use that have been tested to certify them.

Is paying $2.79/gallon (in very small quantities) for something that costs about $.60/gallon for the raw materials alone reasonable?? That's up to the individual and their own view of economics.

On Identifying DEF Pumps: Pumping equipment for DEF is almost universally BLUE in color. DEF is purchased separately from diesel on most truck stop transactions. DEF nozzles are also much smaller than truck stop diesel nozzles.

As always, please consider us a resource on IRV2 for questions about DEF.

Erich
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Old 08-13-2014, 08:36 PM   #6
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Because all on the road semi-trucks had to switch to tier4 emissions, and i think most if not all needed DEF if manufactured past 2010-2011. So essentially most truck stops will have it at a reasonable cost, less than $3 per gallon. Most manufacturers make the tanks large enough to just top it off when you change your oil.
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Old 08-13-2014, 09:15 PM   #7
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The cost is what it is, my guess is as time goes by prices will drop.
My experience is the same as yours, the first 2500 miles it barely moved. When you start towing you usage will increase. I have been buying 2 1/2 gallon jugs at Wak Mart for $12 or Sam's for a little less. I see usage towing at about 1 jug per 1000 miles. When on the road I usually keep a jug (or 2) in the basement of the 5er.
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Old 08-14-2014, 11:50 AM   #8
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Thanks for the replies... I knew it didn't cost much for the materials... but I also know that just the raw material is a small part of the cost of bringing something to market. I also know that the economies of scale come into it at some point and as said before, prices should drop some.... but will they? After all... diesel SHOULD cost less than gasoline... but it doesn't.

Thanks again...
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Old 08-14-2014, 02:18 PM   #9
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It is absolutely necessary for every newer diesel or it will go into limp mode and not start. With everyone and the gov't wanting more money just how do you think the price will ever go down?
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Old 08-14-2014, 04:16 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by jimcumminsw View Post
Jack,


DEF is not just Urea and Water combination it is a chemical mix of these components.
Diesel exhaust fluid (DEF), commonly referred to as AdBlue in Europe and standardised as ISO 22241[1] is an aqueous urea solution made with 32.5% high-purity urea (AUS 32) and 67.5% deionized water. DEF is used as a consumable in selective catalytic reduction (SCR) in order to lower NOx concentration in the diesel exhaust emissions from diesel engines.[2]


The only place where you can get ripped off as you say is from the dealer I have read where they are charging much more than the market price for DEF. Napa and other retailers also sell DEF in containers at various prices but the lowest cost is at truck stops that cater to large SEMI trucks.

Jim W.
One of the big things is to check the expiration date on the DEF. One of my guys bought 6 gal of DEF from a local NAPA. When I checked the date codes it was already expired. I always say just buy what you need for that time and check the date codes on the bottles.
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Old 08-14-2014, 11:39 PM   #11
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Great advice from jamesrxx951.

Most DEF at big box stores is Blue DEF marketed by Peak and manufactured by Old World Industries.

Unless they have recently changed to a more user friendly date code, I'll try and explain how to read a Blue DEF date of manufacture. This information is from an email reply from PEAK Technical Services dated July 1, 2013 in response to my request for how to read the date code (after having a big leak problem with some old jugs I purchased at an auto parts store).

"The most important part of the batch code is the third through seventh numbers. There are always going to be two letters or numbers at the beginning of the code, which is the blending facility code, The third and fourth number of the code is the year +1. The fifth, sixth and seventh numbers of the code are the days left in the year, or reverse Julian date. So if the code says 257 for example, that would mean it was made on the 108th day of the year.. April 18th."

A picture is worth a thousand words, so see the picture below and the following for an example:

The date code on the BlueDEF box in my picture is

GA153590089

Lets break this down into 4 groups of numbers:

GA: The designator of the plant that manufactured the DEF
15: The year of manufacture plus 1, so this DEF was made in 2014
359: 365-359 = 6, so the 6th day of the year, or January 6th.
0089: The batch code.

So this box of DEF was made January 6th, 2014.

Specification life for DEF is 2 years at 75F or so. Stored properly, this DEF is good thru January 6th, 2016.

Most other brands simply mark the jug in MM/DD/YY format.

A further note on pricing: Urea is a commodity and is sold in huge quantities. The price of urea for DEF generally tracks with the price of natural gas. Natural gas is used to make ammonia (used for agriculture) and urea is usually co-produced with ammonia. DEF prices also track with the price of agricultural urea, used for fertilizer since the raw materials and energy required for the chemical process is the same. 150 million tons of agricultural urea were produced world wide last year. Less than .5 million tons were consumed making DEF. This springs unusually low prices for DEF (as low as $2.39/gallon) resulted from the very late planting season in North America which delayed demand for urea fertilizer.

Erich
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Old 08-15-2014, 11:00 AM   #12
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DEF date code confusion

Just looked at a box I have and the code is CP652643079... surely this was not made in 64.. so maybe only the second of those numbers matters? that being 5.. so then my box was made on the 101st day of 2014.
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Old 09-13-2014, 07:07 PM   #13
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Well, I just bought my first DEF fill up. Instead of paying $13- for a 2.5 gallon jug at Wally World, I went to a Flying J and pumped 4.3 gallons for $12.30. I had to go inside and pay with my CC because it wouldn't work outside... but at about half price, I'll be slightly inconvenienced every 3 to 4 months... One trucker seemed a little put out, but that's his problem.
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Old 09-14-2014, 07:50 AM   #14
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Well, I just bought my first DEF fill up. Instead of paying $13- for a 2.5 gallon jug at Wally World, I went to a Flying J and pumped 4.3 gallons for $12.30. I had to go inside and pay with my CC because it wouldn't work outside... but at about half price, I'll be slightly inconvenienced every 3 to 4 months... One trucker seemed a little put out, but that's his problem.
One concern is DEF age, not from the pump, but sitting in your tank during warm weather it will degrade. If you fill up every 3-4 months, then no problem. My dealer filled the DEF tank in Feb., 4400 towing miles later and I'm still at about 80% and up until this week recent temps were averaging near 90 degrees. I do not plan on filling the tank next time, just 2-3 gallons when I hit the 1000 mile warning.
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