13 December 2002

The European Parliament and the Council, meeting on December 10 in the Conciliation Committee, reached an agreement on the draft Directive to introduce sulfur-free diesel and gasoline fuels by 2009. This deadline has been set two years earlier than originally proposed in May 2001. In principle, the adopted language also extends the use of sulfur-free fuels on nonroad engines.

The agreement is based on the Commission’s proposal of 11.5.2001 on amending Directive 98/70/EC on the quality of gasoline and diesel fuels. The key features of the agreement reached are:

  • Zero sulfur gasoline and diesel fuels—defined as having no more than 10 mg/kg (ppm) sulfur content—will be available throughout the EU at the latest from 1.1.2005 onwards; the full introduction of these fuels will be completed by 1.1.2009
  • From 1.1.2009 onwards, these fuels should also be used for nonroad mobile machinery and agricultural and forestry tractors, subject to a review to be delivered by the Commission in 2005 in parallel with its submission of a proposal for the next stage of emissions standards for compression ignition engines in nonroad applications.

Sulfur-free fuels will enable manufacturers of engines and vehicles to introduce advanced emission control technologies, such as diesel particulate filters and NOx adsorbers. The NOx adsorber technology from lean-burn (GDI) gasoline engines, in turn, will allow to improve fuel efficiency and reduce the release of greenhouse gases. Zero sulfur gasoline is expected to lead to an improvement in the fuel economy of post-2005 GDI cars by 1-5% compared to similar vehicles using fuel containing a maximum of 50 ppm sulfur.

The agreement must be still endorsed by the Parliament and the Council for the Directive to be adopted.

Source: European Commission