Why Convenience Store Retailers Should Add DEF Dispensers?

Competing in the retail sector is tough, and success largely hinges on offering more services, which are crucial for attracting more customers and boosting profits. Incorporating diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) dispensers on the forecourt is a tactical step that increases the value of your station and helps you compete effectively against other stations.

DEF dispensers have gained importance as a defense mechanism against environmental hazards by contributing to reducing harmful emissions, which is crucial for the environment and fuel-efficient drivers. In this article, we will review what DEF dispensers are, why they are so important, and some of the top reasons retailers should add DEF dispensers in their convenience stores.

Understanding Diesel Exhaust Fluid

Understanding Diesel Exhaust Fluid

DEF is a mixture of urea and water injected into the exhaust system of diesel vehicles. This process, called Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR), transforms harmful NOx gasses into harmless nitrogen and water. Vehicle manufacturers introduced SCR systems to comply with EPA emissions standards in 2010, achieving regulatory compliance without sacrificing engine performance or fuel efficiency. It’s important to note that DEF is not a fuel additive and is stored separately from diesel fuel.

DEF is mandatory for medium—and heavy-duty vehicles with diesel engines manufactured after 2010. These vehicles have systems that automatically inject DEF into the exhaust stream to meet emissions regulations. Running out of DEF can reduce engine performance and enforce lower speeds.

Who Should Sell DEF and How Can They Tell if it’s a Good Idea?

Who Should Sell DEF and How Can They Tell if it's a Good Idea?

Every convenience store could benefit from selling DEF because many vehicles need it. If a store is already selling a lot of diesel fuel, that’s a clear sign they have many customers who could buy DEF.

Since most modern big trucks need DEF, stores with a special area for these trucks to fill up should think about selling DEF right at the pump. This way, they can make additional money from it, especially since these trucks usually buy DEF in large quantities and store it themselves.

Importance of DEF Dispensers in Convenience Stores

SCR technology was developed to assist heavy-duty vehicles in meeting the emissions standards of the US Environmental Protection Agency, particularly in reducing nitrogen oxide emissions. In SCR systems, DEF is injected into the exhaust stream of diesel engines. With the increasing number of vehicles equipped with SCR systems, the demand for DEF dispensers has steadily risen, leading to more convenience stores offering DEF.

However, ensuring proper storage and dispensing of DEF, along with regular maintenance of DEF dispensing equipment, is crucial to providing DEF that meets specifications. If contaminants infiltrate the vehicle’s DEF tank, the SCR system detects them and activates an indicator lamp. Depending on the extent of contamination, the vehicle may require servicing.

Using high-quality DEF dispenser filters to capture contaminants before DEF enters the vehicle’s SCR system can reduce the risk of SCR malfunctions. These filters also contribute to extending the lifespan of the vehicle’s onboard DEF filter.

Top Reasons Convenience Store Retailers Should Add DEF Dispensers

Top Reasons Convenience Store Retailers Should Add DEF Dispensers

Here’s why convenience store owners with diesel pumps should think about offering DEF at their pumps:

  • Happier Customers:

When your store offers DEF right at the pump, you make life easier for your customers. These days, cars and trucks that need diesel also often need diesel exhaust fluid (DEF), and the makers of these vehicles are making it more straightforward to fill up by putting the DEF fill-up spot right next to where you put in the diesel.

This means drivers can fill both tanks without having to move their vehicles. Imagine how much easier it will be for your customers to just fill up at the pump instead of having to come inside, find a DEF jug, wait in line to pay, and then go back out to fill their vehicle. It’s all about making their stop at your store quick, easy, and pleasant.

  • Additional Revenues:

Adding a DEF dispenser in your store significantly affects your bottom line. Adding DEF dispensers outside where the action is can mean more money for your store. This is because when you sell DEF this way, you can buy it in big quantities at a lower price than buying individual jugs.

This saves you money and allows you to make more profits on each sale. It’s a win-win: your customers enjoy the convenience, and you enjoy the extra earnings.

  • Rising Popularity of DEF

Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) is gaining a lot of attention lately. This is happening because there are more vehicles on the road now that run on diesel engines, and these engines need DEF to operate properly.

For convenience store owners, this is a golden opportunity. These stores can attract new customers requiring DEF for their vehicles by including DEF in their product offerings right at their gas pumps. By stocking up on DEF, convenience stores can tap into a growing market every day.

  • Gaining a Competitive Edge

Not all convenience stores offer DEF, giving stores that do offer it a competitive advantage. Convenience stores are considered convenient and reliable sources of Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF). By providing DEF, convenience stores aren’t just selling a product but also setting themselves apart from their competition. This is a smart move for any business looking to attract more customers and make a name for itself.

Tips Every C-Store Should Follow for Better DEF Quality

Tips Every C-Store Should Follow for Better DEF Quality

Here are some critical steps every convenience store should follow to make sure their DEF quality is top-notch:

  • Remember to Top Off Your DEF: For every gallon of fuel the customer will require the same amount of DEF. Customers can easily spot where to add DEF.
  • Keep Your DEF Dispensing Equipment Sparkling Clean: Ensuring the DEF stays pure is super important. Keeping all parts that touch DEF spotless is crucial to avoid contamination. It is also suggested that the dispensers be cleaned of dirt or leftovers and that the area where the nozzle rests be free from impurities.
  • Watch How Fast DEF Is Dispensed: Keeping an eye on how quickly DEF is dispensed is also crucial. If you notice it’s starting to slow down, it can be due to a clogged filter. It needs to be changed immediately. Make sure to check the DEF dispenser’s manual provided by the company. Filters that catch tiny particles easily, like one micron in size, are great at cleaning but might need changing more often. Filters that catch slightly bigger particles, like five or ten microns, offer a good balance by doing a decent cleaning job without needing to be replaced too frequently.
  • Store DEF Properly: Even though the federal government doesn’t have specific rules for storing DEF in underground tanks, your state or local government might have some regulations. It’s a good idea to check with your state’s environmental agency or local authorities to see if there are any rules you need to follow.
  • Keep an Eye on How You Store Your DEF: Did you know that DEF (Diesel Exhaust Fluid) can freeze when the temperature drops below 12 degrees Fahrenheit (-11°C)? It’s best to keep it somewhere warm if you can. When DEF freezes, it expands, much like water does. DEF containers can handle expansion and shrinkage, like DEF tanks on your machinery. DEF can freeze without affecting its performance, and the ideal storage temperature is between 15ºF and 77ºF (-9ºC and 25ºC). Avoid exposing it to direct sunlight for extended periods since it can break down the urea in the DEF.


The addition of DEF dispensers to convenience stores is a strategic move for retailers to stay ahead in the compeition. Offering DEF at the pump not only enhances customer satisfaction by simplifying the refueling process but also significantly boosts the store’s revenue stream.

The rising popularity of DEF, driven by the increasing number of vehicles equipped with diesel engines, presents a lucrative opportunity for convenience store owners. By catering to the needs of diesel vehicle owners and providing DEF alongside diesel fuel, retailers can tap into a growing market segment and attract new customers.

Offering DEF in convenience stores sets them apart from competitors and positions them as reliable sources for this essential product. By adhering to best practices for DEF storage and dispensing, retailers maintain top-notch product quality and customer trust. The incorporation of DEF dispensers in convenience stores meets the demands of modern diesel vehicle owners and enables retailers to thrive in a competitive market.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the purpose of a DEF dispenser?

    A DEF dispenser is used for DEF, which is a solution of urea and water injected into the exhaust stream of diesel vehicles. It helps convert harmful emissions (NOx gasses) into nitrogen and water through SCR, mandated by the EPA in 2010 to meet emissions standards.

  2. What is the function of DEF fluid?

    DEF fluid, mandated by the EPA in 2010, is crucial for diesel engines to reduce their production of nitrogen oxides, which are harmful emissions. This fluid facilitates the conversion of NOx into harmless nitrogen and water, thereby reducing air pollution.

  3. Is DEF fluid necessary?

    Yes, DEF fluid is necessary for most new diesel vehicles and machinery as mandated by the EPA. These vehicles are equipped with Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) technology and a DEF tank that requires filling to comply with emissions standards.

  4. What are the benefits of DEF dispensers for convenience stores?

    DEF dispensers offer various benefits for convenience stores, including improved customer service, increased customer retention, a new revenue stream, and trouble-free integration with existing equipment.

Save Time, Money, & Resources

Categories: Fuel Payment Processing, New Topics, Small Business and Entrepreneurs

Get Started

Ready for the ultimate credit card processing experience? Fill out this form!

Contact HMS

Ready for the ultimate credit card processing experience? Ask us your questions here.