How Your DEF Price Per Gallon is Set

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After the mystery of what Diesel Exhaust Fluid is, how it works and why it is important is explained, the next question usually asked pertains to the pocketbook. Specifically, users want to know how much Diesel Exhaust Fluid will set them back over the lifespan of their vehicle or fleet of vehicles. While this obviously fluctuates, there are some constants that help set the Diesel Exhaust Fluid price per gallon. Here is a brief outline of how it all works.

Urea Supply and Demand

Urea is one of the two key components in Diesel Exhaust Fluid. While urea is used in fertilizer, when it is used in diesel exhaust fluid it has all the contaminants stripped out of it, yielding a higher grade product (environmental grade urea.) This not only makes it more efficient and effective, it also prevents contaminants from entering into your vehicle’s system. That means the economic concept of supply and demand drive the cost of urea.

As global demand for fertilizer has increased, because it is easier to produce, many manufacturers have opted to produce fertilizer grade urea before environmental. This generally is driven by the worldwide agricultural cycle. When fertilizer is in high demand, that demand is met. When it is not, producers will switch to environmental grade urea. This drives the price for both to some extent, making environmental grade urea more expensive when fertilizer grade urea is in high demand and driving the cost down when the demand for fertilizer grade urea reduces.

Location and Supply Method

Where you are located also affects the price because of the cost of getting the raw resources to a manufacturer and then the finished product to a distributor. The closest comparison that most people can relate to is the cost of gasoline if you are within easy access to fuel refineries versus if your gasoline has to be transported across hundreds of miles. The cost of a gallon of gas in a region where it has to be transported a long way to get to market will run higher than if the transportation demand is a short jog down a highway.

The way it is transported also plays into the diesel exhaust fluid price per gallon. If it can be easily transported in containers on trucks it will cost less than if it has to be put on trains to get to a distribution point and then put on trucks.


When you buy oil to heat your house, buying more generally will lower the cost. That is why pre-season contracts are so popular in certain areas of the country. The same principle applies to diesel exhaust fluid prices. The more you buy in volume, whether in individual containers or totes or for delivery in storage tanks. The more you buy the better the price.

The Diesel Exhaust Fluid price per gallon is driven by several factors, but all are pretty easy to understand. Regardless, the way to get the best price is to calculate how much you will need over a period of time and purchase that at one time.

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