Many retail station managers that test their fuel flow do so during off-peak times. While testing fuel flow diligently is a necessary step for checking the performance of your equipment, it is important to remember that as more nozzles come online, a pump configuration becomes increasingly stressed. Fuel dispensers ensure that flow does not exceed the EPA’s regulated maximum flow rate of 10 gallons per minute, but once fuel flow falls below this maximum rate, your customers are taking longer to fill their vehicles than necessary.
Give your fuel flow a stress test.
For a more accurate view into your station’s pump capacity, time the duration of a customer’s fill-up when the majority of fueling positions are active Divide the amount of fuel pumped by the time logged on the stopwatch to get a gallons per minute (GPM) reading. Note how many other dispensers were actively dispensing at the same time. If you find that at peak times your fuel flow is significantly less than 10 GPM, your pump configuration may be undersized, prompting customers to drive off of a busy forecourt or hang up a nozzle out of frustration with a less than full tank.
A surprisingly high amount of retail fueling stations pump at rates significantly below the allowable maximum of 10 GPM at peak times. A faster fill rate means a shorter fueling time, a better customer experience, and a decreased risk of drive-offs due to long wait times.
Dispensers are most often the first culprit investigated in the event of poor fuel flow, but when filters are clean and nozzles are performing correctly, an upgraded pump configuration could be the most economical solution to improving forecourt throughput. If your submersible pump is under 2 horsepower, an upgrade to a 2 horsepower unit could provide the boost in fuel flow you need to increase efficiency and maximize profits.
A manifold pump configuration with smart control can also improve pump capacity by engaging a second pump when it’s needed during high-demand times. This type of configuration also has the added benefits of providing smart backup capabilities, should a pump go down, and energy savings by only using the secondary pump when needed. What’s more, the smart controller can alternate the lead pump ensuring both units wear evenly.
Depending on your sump configuration, adding a second STP to a high volume product line can be a relatively inexpensive way to increase your annual volumes. If you’ve identified that your forecourt throughput is less than optimal, Veeder-Root can help you investigate what options are available for your pump capacity upgrade. To find out more, speak to a representative today.