The International Fuel Quality Center (IFQC) ranked the top 100 countries based on sulfur content standards in gasoline; all EU countries placed within the top 50, now that 100% market penetration of “sulfur-free” (less than 10 ppm) fuels is required in the EU as of January 2009, furthering the region’s role as a leader in clean fuels. This bumped quite a few countries down, such as the U.S., which is now ranked 44th. If California were a nation, it would rank 37th.
Germany remains in first position with the earliest nationwide implementation of the lowest sulfur level of 10 ppm since 2003; following in second position is Japan.
“It is encouraging to see movement year-over-year in these gasoline sulfur rankings. It shows that countries are continuing to improve their fuel quality specifications and making efforts toward zero sulfur fuels and reduced vehicle emissions,” said Liisa Kiuru, executive director, IFQC.
Sulfur is found naturally in crude oil; as a result, it passes into refined products, such as transportation fuels, when crude is processed at the refinery. When sulfur is emitted into the air as a result of fuel combustion, its compounds have negative environmental and health effects. Environmental damage to forests, crops and water supplies can also result from long-term high sulfur emissions. Gasoline desulfurization improves engine efficiency and leads to reduced overall emissions of not only sulfur, but also hydrocarbons (HC), carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen oxides (NOX) and air borne toxics such as benzene.
Industry and policymakers around the world have placed high emphasis on reducing sulfur limits in fuels for more than a decade, but variations in those limits remain. Overall, the majority of countries around the world are moving toward low sulfur, clean fuels. The sulfur limits of all countries included in this ranking either improved or remained the same, making all the changes in rank mainly attributable to the improvement of sulfur limits in certain countries.
Oil-rich nations Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) again rank in the top 60 for low sulfur limits in gasoline (Qatar 54th and UAE 46th). Some countries made remarkable improvements, such as Malaysia (85th) and Paraguay (57th), each up by 41 spots.
“We at Hart continue to be impressed with the remarkable progress made by global refiners, automakers, technology suppliers and government in improving fuel quality and lowering overall criteria air pollutants. It is one of the world’s truly great air quality and environmental success stories. Further, this remarkable clean fuels success has come at costs much lower than originally expected,” said Frederick L. Potter, executive vice president, Hart Energy Publishing, LP.
The complete table ranking the top 100 countries by gasoline sulfur content standards is available on the IFQC’s Web site at http://www.ifqc.org/NM_Top5.aspx
Hart Energy Consulting is a division of Hart Energy Publishing, LP, one of the world’s largest energy industry publishers, with a diverse array of informational products for the worldwide energy industry. Multi-client consulting services include the International Fuel Quality Center, the Global Biofuels Center and an annual Crude, Refining & Clean Transportation Fuel Outlook to 2030. Headquartered in Houston, with offices in New York, London, Washington, D.C., Brussels, Singapore and Rio de Janeiro, Hart Energy Publishing’s market-leading publications include Oil and Gas Investor, E&P, FUEL and PipeLine & Gas Technology. Hart also produces newsletters, custom publishing products, conferences, and unique multi- and single-client consulting services.