June 5, 2006

Ultra-low-sulphur diesel regulations take effect in U.S.

Washington, D.C. – The phased-in implementation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Air Highway Diesel final rule took effect June 1, 2006, requiring a 97 per cent reduction in the sulphur content of highway diesel fuel from its current level of 500 parts per million (ppm) to 15 ppm. The EPA estimates that the new Ultra-Low-Sulphur Diesel (ULSD) will cost an additional four to five cents U.S. per gallon to produce and distribute.

ULSD will be available at retail stations beginning in the Summer of 2006; the fuel enables the use of modern pollution-control technology to meet new emissions specifications that will be fully in force at the end of 2006. Owners of 2007 and later model year diesel-powered vehicles must refuel only with ULSD; owners of 2006 and earlier model-year vehicles may use ULSD or Low Sulphur Diesel (LSD) during the transition period. Only ULSD fuel will be available after December 1, 2010 in states covered by EPA emissions regulations; California regulations call for it to be required by September 2006 in that state.

Using LSD in a 2007 model year vehicle can permanently damage the emissions system and void the warranty, and will be illegal. The EPA states that there may be some degradation in fuel economy, as the process of lowering the sulphur content also lowers the energy content of the fuel slightly. The agency estimates that beginning with the 2007 model year, pollution from heavy-duty highway vehicles will be reduced by more than 90 per cent.

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