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Clean Fuels: Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel

What is Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel?
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards require a major reduction in the sulfur content of diesel fuels and emission levels from diesel engines and vehicles. To meet the EPA standards, the petroleum industry is producing Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD) fuel, a cleaner-burning diesel fuel containing a maximum 15 parts-per-million (ppm) sulfur. Effective June 1, 2006, 80 percent of the highway diesel fuel produced or imported is required to be ULSD fuel replacing most Low Sulfur Diesel (LSD) fuel, which contains a maximum of 500 ppm sulfur.

Why is Ultra Low Sulfur a Clean Air Choice®?
ULSD fuel enables the use of cleaner technology diesel engines and vehicles with advanced emissions control devices, resulting in significantly improved air quality. Annual emission reductions will be equivalent to removing the pollution from more than 90 percent of today's trucks and buses, when the current heavy-duty vehicle fleet has been completely replaced in 2030.

What are other Clean Diesel options?

  • No Idling - All you have to do is shut off your diesel engine. New diesel engines have no problem restarting, so idling for long periods of time is not necessary. Anti-Idling benefits: reduced pollution, less wear and tear on the engine, and reduced fuel consumption, which means more money in your pocket.
  • Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) - An auxiliary power unit is specifically designed to heat, air condition, and/or provide electrical power while the vehicle is not in motion. These devices provide a more efficient alternative to idling as they use less fuel and emit less pollution. The payback on these devices can be one or two years (depending on the amount of time you spend idling each year).
  • Diesel Oxidation Catalyst (DOC) - A Diesel Oxidation Catalyst is an aftermarket accessory that is installed in place of a standard muffler. The DOC contains a honeycomb ceramic core that is coated with a material that catalyzes a chemical reaction to reduce pollution. It can be used on any diesel engine.
    • DOC Benefits - 1. Pollution Reduction: Hydrocarbons - 50% or more, Particulate Matter 20%-50%, and Carbon Monoxide 40% or more. 2. No maintenance required. 3. Can be used on any diesel engine. 4. No special fuel needed - works with LSD and ULSD.

For more information on diesel alternatives please visit the biodiesel section and your local state's section on this website or visit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's National Clean Diesel Campaign at


American Lung Association, Upper Midwest Region
490 Concordia Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55103-2441
Phone: 651-227-8014
Fax: 651-227-5459
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