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Old 08-19-2008, 08:37 PM   #1 (permalink)
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As I Had Thought

Let me start out with the observation that the prices of gasoline and diesel are high. Obviously the price of crude has a big effect.

What I want to zero in on is the fact that diesel fuel costs eighty cents a gallon more than regular unleaded (or premium for that matter) gasoline. The US is pretty much alone in that difference.

This table is in euros.

gasoline-germany.com - International Gas / Petrol / Diesel prices -

From the link:

England
91 Octane Gasoline: €1.34
Diesel: €1.22
Spread: Gasoline is 10% more expensive than diesel


France
91 Octane Gasoline: €1.39
Diesel: €1.32
Spread: Gasoline is 5% more expensive than diesel


Japan
91 Octane Gasoline: €0.97
Diesel: €0.75
Spread: Gasoline is 29% more expensive than diesel


Australia
91 Octane Gasoline: €0.94
Diesel: €1.18
Spread: Gasoline is 26% more expensive than diesel


Germany
91 Octane Gasoline: €1.43
Diesel: €1.33
Spread: Gasoline is 18% more expensive than diesel

But at my local gas station
91 Octane Gasoline: $3.83
Diesel: $4.45
Spread: Diesel is 16% more expensive than premium gasoline


So let’s put the myth that the spread of diesel over gasoline has anything whatsoever to do with world demand down as being busted. In most countries that tend to prefer diesel cars, diesel is less expensive than gasoline. But in the US the reverse is true.

There is only one plausible reason: Ultra-Low (15 ppm) Sulfur Fuel is required ONLY in the US. It costs more money to remove the sulfur. This relationship was not true at all in 2006, prior to the advent of ULSD requirements. Gasoline and diesel cost roughly the same (gasoline was more expensive in summer, diesel more expensive in winter) prior to ULSD.

Diesel in the US is more expensive than gasoline and you can exclusively thank the EPA.

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Old 08-19-2008, 08:39 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I thought Europe had been using low sulfur diesel for longer than us?

Also, isn't diesel subsidized by the government in some countries?
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Old 08-19-2008, 08:56 PM   #3 (permalink)
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European countries tax gasoline higher to encourage diesel use...or so Europeans tell me.
 
Old 08-19-2008, 09:03 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Big Dave -

The plot gets messier :

Ultra-low sulfur diesel - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Quote:
European Union

... Euro IV standard applies since 2005, which specifies 50 ppm maximum quantity of sulfur in diesel fuel for most highway vehicles;[1] ultra-low sulfur diesel with a maximum of 10 ppm of sulfur must be available from 2005 and is actually widely available. A final target (to be confirmed by the European Commission) of 2009 for the final reduction of sulfur to 10 ppm, which will be considered the entry into force of the Euro V fuel standard. ...

United States

As of September 2006, most on-highway diesel fuel sold at retail locations in the United States is ULSD[4].

Ultra-low sulfur diesel was proposed by EPA as a new standard for the sulfur content in on-road diesel fuel sold in the United States since October 15, 2006, except for rural Alaska. California required it since September 1, 2006, and rural Alaska will transition all diesel to ULSD in 2010. This new regulation applies to all diesel fuel, diesel fuel additives and distillate fuels blended with diesel for on-road use, such as kerosene, however, it does not yet apply to train locomotives, marine, or off road uses. By December 1, 2010, all highway diesel will be ULSD. Non-road diesel transitioned to 500 ppm sulfur in 2007, and to ULSD in 2010. Locomotive and marine diesel also transitioned to 500 ppm sulfur in 2007, and to ULSD in 2012. There are exemptions for small refiners of nonroad, locomotive and marine diesel that allow for 500 ppm diesel to remain in the system until 2014. After December 1, 2014 all highway, nonroad, locomotive and marine diesel produced and imported will be ULSD.

The EPA mandated the use of ULSD fuel in model year 2007 and newer highway diesel fuel engines equipped with advanced emission control systems that require the new fuel. These advanced emission control technologies will be required for marine diesel engines in 2014 and for locomotives in 2015.

The allowable sulfur content for ULSD (15 ppm) is much lower than the previous U.S. on-highway standard for low sulfur diesel (LSD, 500 ppm), which not only reduces emissions of sulfur compounds (blamed for acid rain), but also allows advanced emission control systems to be fitted that would otherwise be poisoned by these compounds. These systems can greatly reduce emissions of oxides of nitrogen and particulate matter.

Because this grade of fuel is comparable to European grades and engines will no longer have to be redesigned to cope with higher sulfur content and may use advanced emissions control systems which can be damaged by sulfur, the standard may increase the availability of diesel-fueled passenger cars in the U.S. European diesels are much more popular with buyers than those available in the U.S.

Additionally, the EPA is assisting manufacturers with the transition to tougher emissions regulations by loosening them for model year 2007 to 2010 light-duty diesel engines.[5] As a result, Honda, Nissan, Subaru, Toyota, and others are expecting to begin producing diesel vehicles for the U.S. market to join those from Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen.[6]

According to EPA estimates, with the implementation of the new fuel standards for diesel, nitrogen oxide emissions will be reduced by 2.6 million tons each year and soot or particulate matter will be reduced by 110,000 tons a year.

On June 1, 2006, U.S. refiners were required to produce 80% of their annual output as ULSD (15 ppm), and petroleum marketers and retailers were required to label[7] diesel fuel, diesel fuel additives and kerosone pumps with EPA-authorized language disclosing fuel type and sulfur content. Other requirements effective June 1, 2006, including EPA-authorized language on Product Transfer Documents and sulfur-content testing standards, are designed to prevent misfueling, contamination by higher-sulfur fuels and liability issues. The EPA deadline for industry compliance to a 15 ppm sulfur content was originally set for July 15, 2006 for distribution terminals, and by September 1, 2006 for retail. But on November 8, 2005, the deadline was extended by 45 days to September 1, 2006 for terminals and October 15, 2006 for retail. In California, the extension was not granted and followed the original schedule. As of December, 2006, the ULSD standard has been in effect according to the amended schedule, and compliance at retail locations was reported to be in place.

Sulfur is not a lubricant in of itself, but it can combine with the nickel content in many metal alloys to form a low melting point eutectic alloy that can increase lubricity. The process used to reduce the Sulfur also reduces the fuel's lubricating properties. Lubricity is a measure of the fuel's ability to lubricate and protect the various parts of the engine's fuel injection system from wear. The processing required to reduce sulfur to 15 ppm also removes naturally-occurring lubricity agents in diesel fuel. To manage this change ASTM International (formerly the American Society for Testing and Materials) adopted the lubricity specification defined in ASTM D975 for all diesel fuels and this standard went into effect January 1, 2005.[8]

The refining process that removes the sulfur also reduces the aromatic content and density of the fuel, resulting in a minor decrease in the energy content, by about 1%. This decrease in energy content may result in reduced peak power and fuel economy.

The transition to ULSD is not without substantial costs. The US Government has estimated that pump prices for diesel fuel will increase between $.05 and $.25 per gallon as a result of the transition. And, according to the American Petroleum Institute, the domestic refining industry invested over $8 Billion to comply with the new regulations.

ULSD will run in any engine designed for the ASTM D-975 diesel fuels.

It is, however, known to cause seals to shrink (Source: Chevron paper) and can cause fuel pump failures in Volkswagen TDI engines; biodiesel blends are reported to prevent that failure (Source: HRCCC.org Biodiesel Best Management Practices).

...
To me, this implies that we are just transitioning our diesel fuel to more closely match the EU chemistry. I think we are paying for the transition costs.

Question: In the above Wiki, they are saying that our pre-ULSD was not compatible with EU diesel because the EU emissions equipment would be poisoned by the US diesel fuel. Does that sound right? Are the current EU diesels designed for <= 50 PPM sulfur diesel fuel?

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Old 08-19-2008, 09:03 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Yup, the rest of the civilized world is low sulfur and for longer too, gets 33 countries a better low sulfur score than the US according to IFQC - Top 100 . All the above countries except Australia got a better score than the US. The Kanuks even beat us at position 33

I don't know about subsidies. Every time someone dies in the sand, is it a subsidy?
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Old 08-19-2008, 09:52 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Dave View Post

Diesel in the US is more expensive than gasoline and you can exclusively thank the EPA.
Thank you EPA!
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Old 08-19-2008, 10:30 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Dave View Post
So let’s put the myth that the spread of diesel over gasoline has anything whatsoever to do with world demand down as being busted. In most countries that tend to prefer diesel cars, diesel is less expensive than gasoline. But in the US the reverse is true.

There is only one plausible reason: Ultra-Low (15 ppm) Sulfur Fuel is required ONLY in the US. It costs more money to remove the sulfur. This relationship was not true at all in 2006, prior to the advent of ULSD requirements. Gasoline and diesel cost roughly the same (gasoline was more expensive in summer, diesel more expensive in winter) prior to ULSD.

Diesel in the US is more expensive than gasoline and you can exclusively thank the EPA.
I'm sorry, but your list and conclusion couldn't be further from the truth.

Quote:
Average petrol prices have fallen from 119.51 pence per litre in mid-July to 113.15 now, cutting Ł13.63 off the typical two-car family’s monthly spend on petrol. The average price of diesel has in the past month fallen from 131.56 pence per litre to 125.58, a saving of six pence a litre.
» August Fuel Price Report Fleet Directory News: THE Fleet Industry links directory

Why is diesel more expensive than petrol?
Why is diesel more expensive than petrol? | This is Money

Diesel is more expensive than gasoline in most of europe. Scroll down for the list.
Czech diesel price ranked fourth-highest in Europe - Prague Daily Monitor - 21.07.2008

The list at the begining of this thread is so incredibly wrong, it actually claims diesels in the the USA is cheaper than gasoline.
Quote:
USA
Regular 91 OCT in € 0,72
Super 95 OCT in € 0,68
Super Premium 98 OCT in € 0,68
Diesel in € 0,69
http://gasoline-germany.com/internat...phtml?land=229

The high price of diesel has nothing to do with ULSD or the EPA and everything to do with supply and demand. Over the last few years the whole world (not just europe) has been switching from gasoline powered cars to diesel powered cars. Refiners on the other hand can't infinitely vary the proportion of diesel to gasoline they can extract from a barrel of oil. They can only go so far one way or another before drastically increasing the cost of refining. But because the US has remained largely a gasoline market, it has been able to survive without building a any new refineries in the last 30 years by importing refined gasoline from markets where diesel is more in favor.


The upfront cost of a diesel engine plus the cost of fuel more than offsets any fuel economy benefits. The huge premiums I was used to seeing on Craigslist for old beat up Mercedes and TDIs have started to disappear as people wake up to the reality that diesel costs an additional 60 cents a gallon. Sure you still have SVO conversions and biodiesel. If you can find it, more power to you.

cheers
Justin

Last edited by tjts1; 08-20-2008 at 04:28 AM..
 
Old 08-20-2008, 04:07 PM   #8 (permalink)
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For the People, by the People

In defense of the ULSD decision, and the EPA, here are a few more data points to consider...

Older Diesel engines produce soot. Some more than others. This translates into "Particulate Matter" or PM.

This just in: PM2.5 levels in many areas of the Country are at an unhealthy level:



The biggest offenders are coal power plants and vehicle exhaust. Older diesels have a high output of PM comparable to gasoline engines -- which is why action was taken.

We're making ourselves sick. It seems like a sensible regulation to me. EPA bashing is the easy way out.

More info: EPA Regulatory Actions for Nonattainment.

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Old 08-21-2008, 03:21 AM   #9 (permalink)
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OK, so you want more?

Point your browsers here.

Common sense unleashed.

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Old 08-21-2008, 03:36 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Australia
91 Octane Gasoline: €0.94
Diesel: €1.18
Spread: Gasoline is 26% more expensive than diesel

Sorry but not so.

Gasoline is LESS expensive than diesel at the pump.

Diesel is and has been for many years more expensive than unleaded (gasoline) here.
The main reason is the rates of tax levied on the two different products.

Cheers , Pete.

 
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