Trufuel WTF (not technology related)


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    I watch a fair number of YouTube videos, and recently there are a lot of Home Improvement/DIY channels that are "reviewing" Trufuel. If you have not heard of it yet, it is an "engineered fuel" for outdoor power equipment. OK, whatever. It seems like a solution looking for a problem...until you look at the price.

    This stuff comes in quart cans for ~$7/bottle here after tax. So, this stuff is ~$28/gallon. For gas. To put in a weedeater.

    All of the YouTube channels that have featured it as a sponsored item have said that it "is a little bit more expensive" That is not a little bit more expensive. That is more than an order of magnitude more expensive. I believe that the national average for gas prices is ~$2.50/gallon.

    That's all well and good, but they claim it to be a miracle fuel. They are pushing it right now as it is spring and everyone is getting their string trimmers and lawnmowers out and they are hoping to get customers from anyone who has a problem starting their engines after the long winter. Fair enough, their fuel has no ethanol so it is more likely to last over the winter without causing issues. But, if you are smart about it you will not store fuel in your equipment over the winter and they will start just fine if you put fresh fuel in them.

    But, TRWTF for me is still the price. If you buy good string trimmers and run more than 10 gallons through them over the course of the year you would be even money with just throwing them away and buying a new one each spring. A Stihl string trimmer is ~$275. 11 gallons of fuel puts you at even money with just throwing it away at the end of the season. If you buy cheap stuff like the $100 Weed-Eater brand stuff at the big box stores, you are break even at ~4 gallons of fuel.

    If people don't want to run ethanol fuel in their stuff, they can go to http://pure-gas.org/ and find a place close to them to buy it for 80-90% less than the price of this stuff.

    How does anyone think this is a good product or a good business model? They are removing all of the economies of scale from fuel distribution and packaging ethanol-free fuel in quart bottles and shipping it by truck. And people actually buy this stuff?

    I realize this is not really the forum for such things, but I needed to rant.



  • Small engines work on any gas, although if you use an ethanol-heavy blend you might need clean the carb before you put it away for the winter.

    Rant away, this is retarded. Even if you're a millionaire and want to throw your money away, buying this would still be stupid.

    @Polygeekery said:

    How does anyone think this is a good product or a good business model? They are removing all of the economies of scale from fuel distribution and packaging ethanol-free fuel in quart bottles and shipping it by truck. And people actually buy this stuff?

    That's hazard shipping too, which adds a bit to the cost. It can't go in the same truck with all the normal Home Depot supplies.


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    @blakeyrat said:

    Small engines work on any gas, although if you use an ethanol-heavy blend you might need clean the carb before you put it away for the winter.

    Yeah, ethanol attracts water which fouls the fuel over the winter. So, instead of idiots buying $28/gallon magic fuel, they can just do what I do and run the engines completely out of fuel before storing them. It costs me essentially nothing. (Pendantic folks can point out that it costs me a few cents in wasted fuel)

    Also, buy a one gallon can to keep your mixed fuel in. You will use up a gallon of mixed gas before it fouls and one gallon is the amount that 2-cycle oil expects to be mixed with. If you read the Trufuel website, they act like they are solving all the world's problems. You can get the same results with a small amount of common sense.



  • @Polygeekery said:

    Also, buy a one gallon can to keep your mixed fuel in. You will use up a gallon of mixed gas before it fouls and one gallon is the amount that 2-cycle oil expects to be mixed with.

    Haven't 2-cycles been illegal for years now? Or are they still ok for handheld equipment?



  • 2-strokes are perfectly legal for non-road equipment.


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    @blakeyrat said:

    Haven't 2-cycles been illegal for years now? Or are they still ok for handheld equipment?

    Hmmmm, I know there was talk of phasing them out. I am not sure. I bought my string trimmer and leaf blower and such 5-6 years ago. I have not been in the market for a while.

    BTW, that is 5-6 years of them working just fine on normal 87 octane fuel from the gas station up the road and no magic fuel at $28/gallon.



  • This fuel looks perfect for the custom Hi-Fi oxygen-free gas generator I use for my Hi-Fi speaker system! I'm certain Trufuel will finally resolve the final clarity and depth of my music's warmth while adding a crystal-clear 3D quality to my listening environment!



  • @Polygeekery said:

    Hmmmm, I know there was talk of phasing them out. I am not sure. I bought my string trimmer and leaf blower and such 5-6 years ago. I have not been in the market for a while.

    BTW, that is 5-6 years of them working just fine on normal 87 octane fuel from the gas station up the road and no magic fuel at $28/gallon.

    You can't by small marine 2 strokes anymore in the US - haven't been able to for years.

    * small marine 2 strokes sounds like a really bad porno .......



  • @mott555 said:

    2-strokes are perfectly legal for non-road equipment.

    In WA State, you can't buy a 2-cycle lawnmower anymore (and haven't been able to for about a decade), and they definitely aren't road equipment.

    @rad131304 said:

    You can't by small marine 2 strokes anymore in the US - haven't been able to for years.

    Right; they've been STRONGLY phasing-out 2-strokes of every kind.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    In WA State, you can't buy a 2-cycle lawnmower anymore (and haven't been able to for about a decade), and they definitely aren't road equipment.

    @rad131304 said:

    You can't by small marine 2 strokes anymore in the US - haven't been able to for years.

    Right; they've been STRONGLY phasing-out 2-strokes of every kind.

    IIRC, the diesel motots/generators that drive the refrigeration units on 52' trailers are all still 2 stroke (though they aren't classified as over-the-road since they don't drive wheels) - I know the industry has been fighting the conversion. They actually don't care about the emissions; if they could get a Gross Weight exemption from NHTSA they'd be more open to getting them, though they are also more expensive



  • Nowadays, there's very little weight difference between the two engines. It's not like my 4-stroke mower is some huge behemoth I can hardly move, it's fine.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    In WA State, you can't buy a 2-cycle lawnmower anymore (and haven't been able to for about a decade), and they definitely aren't road equipment.

    I blame the West Coast for being full of hippies then.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    Nowadays, there's very little weight difference between the two engines. It's not like my 4-stroke mower is some huge behemoth I can hardly move, it's fine.

    True, but for every extra lb the engine weighs, that's 1 less lb of cargo they can transport. Refrigerated transport tends to be weight limited.



  • 2-stroke diesels are totally different from 2-stroke gas engines. They don't mix oil in the fuel and have a separate crankcase compartment so they don't have the emissions issues from burning oil.


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    @blakeyrat said:

    In WA State, you can't buy a 2-cycle lawnmower anymore (and haven't been able to for about a decade)

    The last one of those I saw was well over a decade old. It has a very strange sound to it also. It was very odd to hear a push mower make the 2-stroke sounds.

    @blakeyrat said:

    Right; they've been STRONGLY phasing-out 2-strokes of every kind.

    Yep. Snowmobiles and personal watercraft were the first ones I remember being phased out. I just went and looked at string trimmers on the Stihl site and I cannot even find a specification that says what type of engine they have on them. It has displacement and such, but nothing about 2-stroke or 4-stroke. They do all appear to say "low-emission" though, so I am going to venture a guess that they are 2-stroke.

    I also seem to remember that when I got these that the guy mentioned it might be the last of the 2-stroke string trimmers from Stihl. Their chainsaws are still 2-stroke though. I just looked at those the other day.



  • @mott555 said:

    2-stroke diesels are totally different from 2-stroke gas engines. They don't mix oil in the fuel and have a separate crankcase compartment so they don't have the emissions issues from burning oil.

    True, but the PM from these engines is still pretty nasty. CA is the only state that regulates them AFAIK, and a HUGE fight went down between CARB and the industry over it. Industry still isn't happy. The filters are CRAZY expensive.

    Also, yes I forgot they were CI and not SI engines.



  • It's more of an issue on the power/weight ratio. Generally, two-stroke engines were about twice as powerful as a 4-stroke of similar displacement, but this is becoming less and less true (at least in the dirt bike universe).

    @Polygeekery said:

    Their chainsaws are still 2-stroke though.

    They have to be, until someone designs a small 4-stroke that can run in any orientation without leaking all its oil out or burning up when gravity's holding all the oil away from the sump.


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    @mott555 said:

    They have to be, until someone designs a small 4-stroke that can run in any orientation without leaking all its oil out or burning up when gravity's holding all the oil away from the sump.

    I wondered about that also, but a friend has a 4-stroke string trimmer and he rotates it 90 degrees to edge the walks and has not had issues. I have no idea how that works unless they have fitted some tiny little dry sump system to it.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    Haven't 2-cycles been illegal for years now? Or are they still ok for handheld equipment?

    The problem is with premix-lubricated two-stroke engines where the oil mixed in the fuel doesn't burn cleanly. Sump-lubricated two-stroke engines are A-OK, and are still made to this day for a wide variety of off-road, marine, and railroad applications; one example is the EMD 710 prime mover.

    @blakeyrat said:

    Nowadays, there's very little weight difference between the two engines. It's not like my 4-stroke mower is some huge behemoth I can hardly move, it's fine.

    That weight difference is why sump-lubricated marine/rail/stationary two-stroke diesels will still be the kings of big engines... 😉

    @Polygeekery said:

    I wondered about that also, but a friend has a 4-stroke string trimmer and he rotates it 90 degrees to edge the walks and has not had issues. I have no idea how that works unless they have fitted some tiny little dry sump system to it.

    Hrm, can you find a manual for the engine on it? That is an ingenious little engine indeed if it an do that reliably...


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    @rad131304 said:

    Also, yes I forgot they were CI and not SI engines.

    That has little to do with it. 2-stroke gas engines are big polluters because of the lubricating oil being mixed with the fuel.



  • String trimmers are less likely to be used in an odd orientation than a chainsaw so I figure it's less of an issue.


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    @mott555 said:

    String trimmers are less likely to be used in an odd orientation than a chainsaw so I figure it's less of an issue.

    Yeah, but he still tips it up on its side to edge the walks. So the sump is 90 degrees off orientation from "normal".



  • @Polygeekery said:

    That has little to do with it. 2-stroke gas engines are big polluters because of the lubricating oil being mixed with the fuel.

    Eh, yes; but for different reasons. The PM and NOX from the diesel are pretty bad. The gas engine is bad for CO and CO2.



  • @rad131304 said:

    Eh, yes; but for different reasons. The PM and NOX from the diesel are pretty bad. The gas engine is bad for CO and CO2.

    The issue is actually that typical two-stroke gas engines spit out a bunch of PM compared to their four-stroke brethren because of that oil/fuel premix -- a sump-lubed gasoline two-stroke wouldn't have that problem...



  • :shrugs:

    It might be fine without oil for a few minutes at a time. Trimmers don't work nearly as hard as a chainsaw. Chainsaws tend to be at 100% throttle and power for minutes at a time.



  • @tarunik said:

    The issue is actually that typical two-stroke gas engines spit out a bunch of PM compared to their four-stroke brethren because of that oil/fuel premix -- a sump-lubed gasoline two-stroke wouldn't have that problem...

    My emissions expertise is in diesel and on road car engines; I know very little about 2-stroke engines other than how to work on them so I'll admit ignorance here - I assumed the issues addressed were the same as the ones from the bigger 4 stroke 16 valve engines.


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    @mott555 said:

    It might be fine without oil for a few minutes at a time. Trimmers don't work nearly as hard as a chainsaw.

    Maybe. But they still turn extremely high RPM. I would think it would be dead in short order.

    But, then again, it is likely to be splash lubricated. Conceivably you could design the sump in such a way to keep the splash lubrication working even at odd angles. If that is the case, I would bet that if you turned it upside down and tried to run it that it would choke to death from trying to push the piston through the oil bath.


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    @mott555 said:

    2-stroke diesels are totally different from 2-stroke gas engines.

    Except for the sound. As I used to work with heavy machinery, I grew to hate the wailing sound of the old Detroit diesels that were in the old Terex scrapers. -shudder-


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    I just looked, this topic went off the rails at post #4. Also, that is not even close to being a record around here. 😄



  • Everything I have is electric.
    And it IS cheap enough to throw away if I have to.


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    Years ago I had a small yard and an cordless electric string trimmer that worked really well and it was massively convenient to just grab it off the hanger and go to work. Now we have nearly 2 acres, lots of stuff to trim around and there is just no way cordless would cut it for that or else I probably would have went that route.



  • I run a small fleet of 2-stroke motorbikes (mostly vintage, but as late as 2007). I keep a couple of cans of tru fuel around if I can, because of convenience. It's enough gas to get to the gas station. The cans themselves are great, they don't leak. And if I'm in a rush I don't have to mix in the tank (which is bad for the bike).


  • SockDev

    Alternative: a jerrycan of regular petrol



  • He's talking about the Trufuel which is a 50/50 pre-mix, which would actually be handy for 2-cycles and looking at its price online isn't quite as astronomical as their other products.

    A pack of 6 cans goes for $35.50.



  • I use Rotopax for that, it bolts right down on my bike's cargo rack.


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    @blakeyrat said:

    A pack of 6 cans goes for $35.50.

    That is still $24/gallon plus tax. And, if you order it online you would have shipping charges on that which have to be pretty damned high.



  • @Polygeekery said:

    That is still $24/gallon plus tax.

    True but if you had a "fleet" of 2-cycle motors and you needed an emergency backup that doesn't require carrying both a jerrycan and some oil cans and mixing in the tank, this might be a decent thing to have on hand.


  • SockDev

    Can't you just mix in the jerrycans?


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    Maybe as an emergency backup, but if you are running a lot of 2-cycle engines then you would probably be mixing it 5 gallons at a time. As a primary fuel source, it makes no economic sense.


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    @RaceProUK said:

    Can't you just mix in the jerrycans?

    Yes.



  • Look, whatever, don't bitch at me, Chris_McCall is the guy buying the stuff. Aim your outrage at the correct target.



  • @Polygeekery said:

    Now we have nearly 2 acres, lots of stuff to trim around and there is just no way cordless would cut it

    Should have supported Nikola Tesla when we had the chance.


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    @blakeyrat said:

    don't bitch at me

    That was bitching? Pffffbt.



  • We're currently researching ways to make single source organic gluten-free free range mixed fuel so we can have 2-cycle motors back.



  • @Polygeekery said:

    How does anyone think this is a good product or a good business model? They are removing all of the economies of scale from fuel distribution and packaging ethanol-free fuel in quart bottles and shipping it by truck. And people actually buy this stuff?

    Well, it kind of depends on your perspective. I'm sure Trufuel is looking at a rosy future of 95% profit, since the probably make and distribute this stuff for $1.40/gallon. Of course they have problems to overcome, which leads us to the second perspective...

    ...which is that of the flood of reviewers. Why should they care? They're being paid good $$$ to make and show all those infomer$ial$. And a lot of those are, because Trufuel needs those to accomplish the next step which is to...

    ...get enough environmentalists enthusiastic, so that they will prevail upon the government to mandate Trufuel. Which leads us to ...

    ...win for Trufuel. Probably an environmental loss and a loss for everyone's pocketbook, but hey, Trufuel investors and executives will win. That's what matters, right?


    I mentioned "environmental loss": I'm to lazy to dig the details out now, but a while back NASA was touting their grand new fuel of the future, which would be much better for the environment than hydrazine, which is so dangerous, y'know. Because it only took about one liter of the new fuel to achieve the same power as 30 liters of hydrazine or so.

    So I dug around to learn about the new fuel, which was really hard because--odd thing--no one seemed to want to discuss the details.

    When I finally got an overview, I found out why: For every liter of the new fuel produced, the manufacturing process yields 200 liters (!!!!) of hydrazine as a waste byproduct. Now how's that for an environmental win?



  • Yes, you can, until you don't. Maybe I forgot, maybe some friends stop by and want to go on a quick ride. Some of my bikes only hold 1/2 gallon of fuel in the tank. Five riders going out, somebody is likely to run out of gas. Some riders are inexperienced and rather than teach them how to mix gas, I just hand them a can and tell them to dump it in the tank.

    I live in a hyper-urban area (downtown mixed-use industrial/commercial/residential zone). I can't always have gallons of gas in cans lying around. This stuff I can store inside. I also have 1 and 2-gallon cans with premix and straight gas, but I put 5000-8000 miles a year on 2T bikes. A ride going off late or being cancelled because I ran out of gas is a bummer. My personal "fueling infrastructure" is layered and complex. Just explaining how or why this stuff gets purchased from my perspective.


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    Not that long ago everyone was bitching about high fuel prices. Now enough people are willing to buy $28/gallon fuel for their $100 weed eaters that you can build a company off of it.



  • @Polygeekery said:

    Yeah, ethanol attracts water which fouls the fuel over the winter

    My mower was left with half a tank over winter (at least 6 months since it was last filled) and it started fine this spring?


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    Well, it is not a guarantee of it not starting. It just means that you are more likely to have trouble. Plus, you are on the other side of the pond. I cannot speak for how you imperialist bastards blend your fuel. 😉

    Plus, the issues with ethanol are primarily for older power equipment that might have rubber seals in everything that will dry and crack when exposed to alcohol, etc.



  • @Polygeekery said:

    Well, it is not a guarantee of it not starting. It just means that you are more likely to have trouble.

    No more trouble than when it's been left for 2/3 weeks.

    @Polygeekery said:

    I cannot speak for how you imperialist bastards blend your fuel

    Normal petrol station petrol.... so... 95 RON?

    @Polygeekery said:

    older power equipment

    How old? It's 7 maybe 8 years old.

    Either way, I wouldn't be paying £18.44/gallon (or £22.11 for UK gallon) for fuel for some magic fuel.


Log in to reply
 

Looks like your connection to What the Daily WTF? was lost, please wait while we try to reconnect.