28 April 2000
Worldwide motor vehicle manufacturers have released a revised World-Wide Fuel Charter which calls for reducing sulfur content in gasoline and diesel fuels. The revised Charter introduces a "sulfur-free" fuel specification with maximum sulfur content of 5-10 ppm wt., down from the previous 30 ppm, for both gasoline and diesel fuels.
This call for sulfur-free fuels is a response to emerging requirements for more stringent vehicle emission controls and reduced fuel consumption. Regulatory changes and new technology demands placed on automakers in Asia, Europe and North America are likely to require substantially cleaner fuels than those which are currently widely available. These new technologies include NOx traps, particulate matter traps and direct injection engines. In addition, conventional diesel engines will require sulfur-free fuel as governments promulgate further limits for particulate matter emissions.
Fuels of a reduced sulfur content are already available in some countries:
- Japan has had sulfur-free premium gasoline for many years;
- Sweden has had 10 ppm S diesel fuel for more than a decade;
- Germany will introduce tax incentives for sulfur-free fuels (max. 10 ppm) by 2003 and the first sulfur-free fuels are already in the market.
- In the United States, one-third of the gasoline pool in California is below 10 ppm sulfur, and officials are considering regulatory action to obtain ultra-low sulfur levels statewide.
- US federal officials are expected to reduce sulfur in diesel fuel to ultra-low levels by 2006.
The World-Wide Fuel Charter is supported by the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA), Engine Manufacturers Association (EMA), Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA), and numerous other vehicle manufacturers organizations worldwide.
The World-Wide Fuels Charter was first established in 1998 to promote greater understanding of the fuel quality needs of motor vehicle technologies and to harmonize fuel quality worldwide in accordance with vehicle needs. The Charter revision of April 2000 includes a new Category 4 which defines fuels that minimize emissions from all vehicles on the road and enable new vehicle technologies to be introduced. Category 4 reflects the need to remove sulfur from both gasoline and diesel fuel.