Ultra-low-sulfur diesel (ULSD) is diesel fuel with substantially lowered sulfur content. As of 2006, almost all of the petroleum-based diesel fuel available in Europe and North America is of a ULSD type. There is not a single standard set of specifications and as the government mandated standard becomes progressively more strict so does the definition.
The move to lower sulfur content is expected to allow the application of newer emissions control technologies that should substantially lower emissions of particulate matter from diesel engines. This change occurred first in the European Union and is now happening in North America. New emissions standards, dependent on the cleaner fuel, have been in effect for automobiles in the United States since model year 2007.
ULSD has a lower energy content due to the heavy processing required to remove large amounts of sulfur from oil, leading to lower fuel economy. Using it requires more costly oil.
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