|Pump label for ULSD.|
Yesterday (1 June) marked the beginning of the phased-in implementation of EPA’s Clean Air Highway Diesel final rule that requires a 97% reduction in the sulfur content of highway diesel fuel from its current level of 500 parts per million (ppm) to 15 ppm. EPA estimates that this new diesel fuel will cost an additional 4 to 5 cents per gallon to produce and to distribute.
This Ultra Low-Sulfur Diesel (ULSD) will be available at retail stations beginning this summer and enables the use of modern pollution-control technology to meet the new EPA Tier 2 emissions specifications that will be fully in force at the end of this year.
Owners of 2007 and later model year diesel-powered highway vehicles must refuel only with ULSD fuel. Owners of 2006 and earlier model year diesel-powered highway engines and vehicles may use ULSD or Low Sulfur Diesel fuel during the transition period. Only ULSD fuel will be available for highway use starting on 1 December 2010 in states covered by EPA emissions regulations.
California regulations call for a more aggressive implementation of ULSD, with all highway diesel required to be ULSD by September 2006.
Improperly fueling a 2007 and later model year vehicle with Low Sulfur Diesel (LSD) not only can permanently damage the emissions system and void the warranty, but us illegal and punishable with civil penalties.
Only ultra low-sulfur kerosene (No. 1 diesel with no more than 15 ppm sulfur) may be blended with ULSD fuel for cold weather performance. Blend rates will remain the same as with Low Sulfur Diesel fuel.
Operators of mode year 2007 diesel vehicles may see some degradation in fuel economy—the process of lowering the sulfur content also slightly lowers the energy content of the fuel, and the new emissions control devices designed to meet the 2007 and beyond standards can apply their own fuel consumption penalty.
The current ULSD rule had its origin in 2000, and was finalized in January 2001. Beginning with the 2007 model year, pollution from heavy-duty highway vehicles will be reduced by more than 90%.
Engine manufacturers have the flexibility to meet the new standards through a phase-in approach between 2007 and 2010. The program also includes various flexible approaches, including additional time for some refiners and special provisions for small refiners.
|Effective Dates for On-Highway ULSD Fuel|
|Source: Clean Diesel Fuel Alliance.|
|Refiners & importers||Import/produce at least 80% ULSD for on-highway use||1 JUN 2006||–|
|Import/produce at least 100% ULSD for on-highway use||1 JUN 2010||1 JUN 2006|
|Downstream from Refineries through Fuel Terminals||Facilities that choose to cary ULSD must meet 15 ppm sulfur specification||1 SEP 2006||–|
|All highway diesel must be ULSD||1 OCT 2010||15 JUL 2006|
|Retail outlets||Facilities that choose to carry ULSD must meet 15 ppm specification||15 OCT 2006||–|
|All highway diesel must be ULSD||1 DEC 2010||1 SEP 2006|