Published May 30, 2012
By Philippe Crowe
The International Fuel Quality Center ( IFQC) has ranked the Top 100 countries based on sulfur limits in on-road diesel and found that 44 countries can now boast that their on-road diesel fuel is the cleanest in the world.
Countries were ranked based on the order of the following criteria: maximum allowable sulfur limits in national standards, sulfur limits in local/regional standards (such as specifications for cities/states) and by year of implementation.
"Sulfur reduction remains essential and unique, as it is the only component of the refining process for petroleum fuels that lowers all airborne pollutants from the transport sector,” said Liisa Kiuru-Griffith, executive director, IFQC. “This is why there is added pressure and a movement to reduce sulfur limits in other categories, like marine fuels."
Sweden, Germany and Japan lead the rankings, while the U.S. is in 46th position. Canada is 45th.
Armenia and New Caledonia joined the select group atop IFQC's annual ranking by completing their nationwide transitions to diesel fuel with sulfur content of 10 ppm. The top 47 countries share a maximum sulfur limit of 15 ppm or less with varying implementation timelines.
Six countries advanced in the 2012 list, led by Ecuador, which joined the Top 100 by lowering its maximum sulfur limit from 7,000 ppm to 500 ppm and moving up 47 spots to No. 83. Saudi Arabia joined Ecuador at No. 83 by rising 23 spots. Its maximum diesel sulfur content was lowered from 800 ppm to 500 ppm.
"With distillates experiencing the largest growth among all petroleum products globally, it makes it even more challenging to achieve such strict quality requirements," said Kristine Klavers, senior vice president, Hart Energy. "All of us at IFQC extend hearty congratulations to global governments, automakers, refiners, and technology suppliers — all who contributed equally to one of the world's great environmental success stories."
IFQC's analysts based the rankings on maximum allowable limits in national standards and year of implementation. The complete list can be found here.