85% of highway diesel fuel meets EPA standards

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New, cleaner diesel fuel is producing cleaner air, according to preliminary surveys and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Surveys of retail stations since mid-October show that about 85 percent of highway diesel fuel meets ultra-low-sulfur diesel (ULSD) standards, exceeding the 80 percent regulatory mandate. All highway diesel fuel must meet the ULSD standards by 2010.

“These results show that we are making significant progress in protecting the environment and public health,” said Bill Wehrum, EPA’s acting assistant administrator for air and radiation.

ULSD fuel has 97 percent less sulfur than diesel fuel produced in previous years. Under EPA’s clean diesel programs, ULSD, combined with new engine emissions control technology kicking in next year, will deliver billions of dollars in environmental and public health benefits by preventing nearly 20,000 premature deaths and tens of thousands of cases of respiratory ailments such as bronchitis and asthma.

Although almost all pumps contain ULSD, preliminary data indicates that some retail stations have not properly labeled their diesel pumps as such. Proper labeling is critical for consumers to know that they are using the correct fuel for new clean diesel cars and light trucks coming on the market, Wehrum said.

EPA is working with the Clean Diesel Fuel Alliance to help provide additional public information and raise awareness of the importance of proper labeling. For more information on the alliance, go to www.clean-diesel.org.