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Diesel fuel industry cuts sulfur content by 97%

The diesel fuel industry successfully met the Dec. 1, 2010, deadline mandated by the EPA, reducing the sulfur content of diesel fuel by 97 percent, to 15 parts per million. This ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD) fuel represents a major step forward in improving air quality in the United States.

“It is quite a remarkable feat that refiners have been able to reduce the sulfur content in diesel fuel by 97 percent,” said Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum. “The United States now officially has the cleanest on-road diesel fuel in the world.”

The new clean diesel fuel will be a major contributor in helping cities and states meet strict new air quality goals set by the federal government, he said. “This new ultra-clean fuel is extremely important because sulfur tends to hamper exhaust-control devices in diesel engines, like lead once impeded the catalytic converters on gasoline cars. Just as taking the lead out of gasoline in the 1970s enabled a new generation of emissions control technologies that have made gasoline vehicles over 95 percent cleaner, removing the sulfur from diesel helps usher in a new generation of clean diesel technology,” Schaeffer said.

The diesel industry also will continue to transition off-road vehicles like farm tractors and construction machines to ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel. Construction and agricultural equipment manufacturers are well on their way to launching a new generation of low-emission clean diesel engines that will require this cleaner fuel, Schaeffer added.

The Diesel Technology Forum is a non-profit national organization dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of diesel engines, fuel and technology. For more information, visit www.dieselforum.org.


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