The EPA has issued its final schedule for the mandated transition to ultra low-sulfur diesel (containing less than 15 ppm sulfur) next year.In the schedule, the agency grants a 45-day extension for terminal and retail outlets to comply with the implementation of the rule. The start date for refinery production of ULSD is not affected by the change.
The extension means that terminals will have until 1 September 1 (vs. 15 July), 2006, and retailers will have until 15 October 15 (vs. 1 September), 2006, to complete their transitions to ULSD.
Fuel up to 22 ppm sulfur temporarily may be sold as ULSD at terminals and retail outlets during their respective extension periods.
The agency does not expect to adjust the schedule again.
This 45-day extension does not affect the start date for refineries to be producing ULSD fuel. The reason for the extension is that some in the fuel distribution industry had indicated that on the current schedule, ULSD may not be available at a small number of retail outlets. The impacts of the recent Gulf Coast hurricanes are not a factor in the action, according to the EPA.
The revised transition dates will cause some manufacturers of diesel engines and vehicles to delay their introduction of the 2007 models that must use ULSD exclusively. However, because these changes will help ensure the universal availability of ULSD, the engine and vehicle industry has indicated that these limited changes are acceptable.
As part of its final rule, the EPA confirmed that industry is on-track and prepared to make a smooth transition to ULSD with 90 percent of on-highway diesel production meeting the new standard by 1 June 2006—well above the 80 percent threshold required by EPA.