On Oct. 15, this fuel was available nationwide, and though ULSD will be the dominant highway diesel fuel produced, the EPA does not require service stations and truck stops to sell low sulfur diesel (LSD) fuel until Dec. 1, 2010. Right now, 80 percent of on-road diesel produced is required to be ULSD; in 2010, all must be ULSD. Therefore, it is possible that ULSD fuel might not be available at every service station, or that a diesel retailer may choose to sell LSD fuel instead.
Owners of 2006 and earlier model year diesel-powered engines and vehicles may use either until 2010. Engine and vehicle manufacturers expect ULSD fuel to be fully compatible with the existing fleet. In some instances, the initial use of it in older vehicles may loosen deposits in fuel tanks. As part of a good maintenance program, owners are encouraged to monitor their vehicles closely for potential fuel system leaks or premature fuel filter plugging during the changeover.
Owners of 2007 and later model year vehicles must refuel only with ULSD fuel. However, some medium-duty and heavyduty diesel-powered model year 2007 vehicles are built with 2006 model year engines, which do not require ULSD fuel, and the EPA does not require these vehicles to be fueled by it. Nonetheless, vehicles that require ULSD fuel have specific labels on the dashboard and near the fuel inlet.
If your vehicle is designed to use ULSD, improper fuel use may reduce engine durability and fuel efficiency, permanently damage emissions control systems and possibly prevent the vehicle from running at all. Manufacturer warranties are also likely to be voided by improper fuel use.
This summer, high fuel prices made headlines everywhere. With fuel costs at an all-time high, it is reasonable for American businesses to ask questions regarding the expenses associated with this vital resource. In addition, there were some concerns that the changeover to ULSD caused shortages and even higher fuel prices in Colorado and the Midwest. To answer these concerns, the EPA and other government agencies investigated the claims, conducting numerous discussions with the refineries providing fuel for those areas. Not once was the changeover to ULSD cited as the reason for high prices and short supplies. In many cases, the transition to ULSD had occurred before the shortage, and the top reason for the diesel shortages was very high diesel demand due to the extreme drought, which caused the agricultural industry to need more fuel to power irrigation systems.
Even though drought was determined to be the cause of this summer's diesel shortage, the inquiries did prompt the EPA to re-examine the impact of its regulations on the cost of fuel, and its conclusion: ULSD costs about a nickel more per gallon.
The introduction of ULSD will help make this country's buses the cleanest in the world. When fully implemented, EPA's highway clean diesel rule will result in $70 billion in health and welfarerelated benefits every year, such as the prevention of more than 8,000 premature deaths and tens-of-thousands of respiratory illnesses like bronchitis.
Through innovations mandated by the 2007 Heavy Duty Highway Rule, the bus, an urban workhorse, is becoming an environmental role model, and leading the way for other vehicle technologies. Besides reducing emissions from the existing diesel fleet, ULSD will enable the use of advanced aftertreatment technologies on new engines. Technologies like particulate traps, capable of emission reductions of 90 percent or more, will be required under new standards and are set to begin appearing in vehicles in the 2007 models.