DEF at the Pump: A More Convenient, Cost Effective and Efficient Option for Drivers


Due to global economic activity resuming, disruptions of manufacturing overseas, and supply chain challenges ranging from port congestion and even California wildfires diverting railroad shipments, experts began sounding the alarm earlier this year about urea shortages and increasing DEF prices.  Spikes in demand in the agriculture industry and more prevalent use among diesel-engine vehicles compounded the problem.

A 2.5 gallon jug of DEF retails for about $12-18, or about $6/gallon, and those prices fluctuate so much that costs can be difficult to project. SCL offers jugs at lower pricing than major retailers, typically around $10-12.50 for a 2.5 gallon jug.

More pain for fleet managers arrived with reports indicating that DEF quality sensors have spiked from $300 per unit to as high as $7,000 due to the global chip shortage. These are tough times for anyone trying to rein in costs.

“For every 100 gallons of diesel, a smaller to mid-size truck burns about 3-4 gallons of DEF. So, over the course of a day a truck can easily use $20 worth of DEF if purchased at retail,” said SCL General Manager Travis Becktel. ““Jugs are more difficult for drivers to manage because they increase the risk of spillage, and although they give customers the illusion they’re saving money, that usually doesn’t add up. It really becomes more of a hassle than a savings. And of course, ask any driver that has ever spilled DEF on themselves or in their truck about the urine-like smell they need to endure.”

Cheaper options can be found if you want to gamble with quality, which although may offer short-term relief as far as cost can put your machines – and your efficiency – in jeopardy.  SCL offers only the best quality, with competitive pricing on packaged DEF jugs. There are also options for 55-gallon drums and 275- and 330-gallon totes for companies and drivers that don’t want to clutter their vehicles with jugs. 

Lost time may be the biggest risk of all to businesses.  When a truck reaches a critical point on its DEF level, the engine goes into limp mode and won’t fire back up.  The warning light will go off and drivers can sit idle, wasting a day’s worth of logistics due to engine failure. Now the driver is walking the streets in search of a jug to get back on the road.

Another Option: DEF at the Pump

SCL also offers DEF at the pump in locations throughout Southern California serving the San Diego and Orange County markets. This option offers more convenient – and reliable – access to quality product on scheduled stops that won’t eat into drivers’ schedules.

DEF can be found at the following locations:

Vista, CA: 1321 Distribution Way, Vista, CA, 92081

San Marcos, CA: 145 Via Vera Cruz, San Marcos, CA, 92078

Why Buy DEF At The Pump?

    • CFN Cardlock security so drivers can pay via the most secure, anti-fraud option available, while managers receive detailed data activity reports.
    • Convenience for drivers and reduction of risk. SCL pump stations are all designed for easy in-and-out access for large trucks.
    • Cost: in mid-September SCL was selling DEF at the pump in San Diego for $3.43/gallon, nearly 50% less than what’s typically sold at retail stores.
    • Eliminates the risk of spillage that can lead to unsavory smells in company vehicles and associated cleaning costs

“The one question we get everyday is ‘How can I cut costs?’ and purchasing your DEF from a pump is one way to do that due to its lack of packaging and delivery services,” said Becktel. “We have plenty of customers that still continue to purchase in the jug form, but that has become more cumbersome sourcing adequate inventory with the rising costs of plastics as well as bottling shortages. It’s always a good idea to have a backup plan with a jug in the truck but I would never advise our customers on refilling them in the long term for quality control reasons.

Our stations provide CFN Cardlock and retail security as well as the relief of not having to source cases from a local retailer. Most diesel fill locations do not offer DEF, but we are pumping thousands of gallons per month.”


Contact an SCL Consultant today 

In a wide range of automotive, industrial and commercial sectors, SCL remains steadfast on its commitment to product and industry knowledge, performance satisfaction and superior logistics. We protect and optimize the machines that keep our country moving. For more information on how we help can help with services including bulk purchasing or managing inventory, contact an SCL expert today.

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