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U.S. Switches to Cleaner Diesel Highway Fuel

The U.S. has completed its transition to ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel (ULSD) for highway use, according to a press release by the Diesel Technology Forum. The new fuel will contain 97 percent less sulfur than previous diesel fuel. Construction and agricultural equipment manufacturers are also on their way to launching a new generation of low-emission clean diesel engines that will require ULSD.

Since 2006, ULSD has been available nationwide and is part of the new generation of clean diesel commercial heavy-duty trucks and clean diesel cars. As of June 1, all highway diesel fuel supplied in the U.S. must be ULSD, and at least 80 percent of the diesel fuel refined in the United States for use by off-road vehicles must be ULSD fuel, containing only 15 parts per million sulfur content.

Benefits of the new cleaner fuel include:

  • Construction Machines and Farm Equipment – Known as Tier IV emissions levels, reductions in both particulates (98 percent) and nitrogen oxides (98 percent) will be phased in for off-road construction and agricultural equipment starting in 2011.
  • The Existing Fleet – All existing engines can use the new ULSD fuel which will reduce emissions of particulates by about 10 percent. Its widespread availability will help expand opportunities for these clean diesel retrofits for off-road uses.
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