Do You Need Alpine Diesel in Australia?

Are you planning to hit the ski fields or explore the higher-altitude tracks that might be open to vehicles this winter?

Michael Ellem from Offroad Images
Michael Ellem
Jun 21 2024
Club 4x4 Image

Are you planning to hit the ski fields or explore the higher-altitude tracks that might be open to vehicles this winter?

Club 4x4 Image

If you're running a diesel engine, you might want to consider topping up with Alpine Diesel on your way there.

Club 4x4 Image
What is Alpine Diesel?

Alpine Diesel is a special blend of fuel designed for cold climates, typical of higher altitude areas with colder temperatures.

It contains additives that reduce the effects of waxing or gelling in diesel fuel, which helps maintain engine performance in chilly environments.

In simple terms, it helps prevent cold conditions from affecting your diesel and the smooth running of your diesel engine.

You can usually find this type of fuel near the snow fields. However, not every service station carries it, so it’s a good idea to check in advance for stations that do in the area you're travelling to.

Club 4x4 Image
Why Do We Need Alpine Fuel?

When temperatures approach zero or drop below, diesel fuels can be affected in several ways, potentially immobilising your vehicle.

Here’s a closer look at what can go wrong with diesel fuel in extreme cold:

Let’s get a bit technical for a moment…

During the refining process, diesel fuels can contain waxes, which might impact your vehicle’s performance in cold environments. One such wax is paraffin, a byproduct of crude oil refining. In extremely cold conditions, this paraffin wax can solidify, turning into a gel-like substance that clogs fuel filters and fuel lines, reducing the fuel's ability to flow to the engine.

The “Cloud Point” is the temperature at which paraffin wax starts to crystallise. If the temperature drops too much, these wax particles can settle and block a fuel filter.

As the temperature continues to drop, wax molecules in diesel can begin to crystallise, forming tiny solid particles. These crystals can block or plug fuel filters.

In extremely cold conditions, any water vapour in the fuel can freeze, forming ice crystals that obstruct fuel flow and potentially cause engine failures.

In essence, if you're planning to travel into cold climates, it's crucial to protect your vehicle’s engine by looking after the fuel system. Using Alpine Diesel helps prevent these cold-weather issues, ensuring your vehicle runs smoothly even in freezing temperatures.

Club 4x4 Image
How Do I Know If I Really Need This?

Simply put, if you’re heading to the snow, then yes, you definitely do.

Club 4x4 Image

Maybe you’re planning to drive over Hotham without stopping at the ski fields. Even if you're just passing through, if it’s extremely cold and you face delays, you might end up spending more time in these chilly conditions than expected. Having a tank full of Alpine Diesel can be a good safety measure for driving through such conditions.

And it’s not just winter that can surprise you with cold weather. For instance, we’ve found ourselves at places like Bluff Hut in November, only to be met with unexpected snow. Since you can never predict these situations, it’s always wise to be prepared with Alpine Diesel when travelling through high-altitude or snowy areas.

Club 4x4 Image
What Temperatures Could These Problems Develop In?

This can be a tricky question to answer. If you’re heading to an area where temperatures are likely to drop below zero, it makes sense to consider using Alpine Diesel for your trip. However, there are many factors to take into account.

Let’s delve into the technical details for a moment.

Paraffin wax crystals can start forming in diesel fuel at temperatures between 0 and 15°C, depending on the fuel type and composition. This point is known as the “Cloud Point.”

At around -10 to -30°C, diesel can lose its ability to flow freely, causing it to solidify or gel. This is called the “Pour Point.” The exact temperature range can vary based on the fuel blend.

While all this technical information might seem a bit overwhelming, it's important to remember that diesel fuel from different suppliers can vary. There are truck diesels, premium diesels, and each of us probably has our favourites. Manufacturers often highlight how their fuel is superior, but any diesel could change in chemistry when exposed to extremely cold conditions.

So, if you’re travelling to the snowfields this year, or exploring higher altitude tracks where you might encounter these extreme conditions, consider using Alpine Diesel or at least a diesel additive. This can help prevent potential engine damage and ensure your vehicle runs smoothly.

Club 4x4 Image


Michael Ellem | Offroad Images

Club 4x4 Image
Want to use your 4WD for what it's really made for?

Our comprehensive insurance goes anywhere you're legally allowed to go, on-road and off.

Get A Quote

The Campfire - Feedback

Just like sitting around the campfire, we would love to hear what you have to say.

Also… we will be featuring stories about photography tips and tricks, 4X4 preparation, build planning and maintenance, as well as featuring inspirational locations for you to visit in your 4X4. So please get involved and let us know what you’d like to hear about.

If you have any requests for stories to be featured in campfire or would like to provide feedback about this article, please send us a message on our social links…

Instagram: @offroadimages

Facebook: @offroadimages



As 4X4 enthusiasts who live for the opportunity to create awesome imagery anywhere in Australia, we know that our vehicle assets are covered wherever we travel to create that shot, as we are insured by Club 4X4.

Michael Ellem from Offroad Images
Michael Ellem
Michael Ellem is a long term friend of the Club 4X4 Insurance and voice of The Campfire. He is also an expert adventure, 4X4 photographer from the renowned Offroad Images and has over 20 years experience in the industry.