As the cost of fuel for automobiles continues to spiral upward at an almost breakneck pace, more and more people are turning to diesel engines. They are taking advantage of the amazing fuel efficiency that diesel engines bring to the table.
However, many people aren’t all that excited about the emissions issues and the “dirty burning” of fuel that diesel engines have been plagued with almost since day one. That’s where ULSD comes into play.
One of the most innovative “new” fuel sources we have today, this is a unique spin on a fossil fuel that boosts the efficiency and cleanliness of the fuel being burned. Quite popular in Europe before it finally started to catch on here in the United States, there’s been a significant change over to low sulfur fuel under way. Much of the change has been spearheaded by new EPA regulations announced in June 2006.
If you are interested in learning more about ULSD, and want to really understand what kind of impact it’s going to have not just on the automobile and trucking industry but also on the environment and people’s bank accounts when they visit the gas pumps, you’re going to want to pay attention to the inside information below.
Why was ultra low sulfur diesel fuel created in the first place?
There are a number of different reasons as to why this particular type of fuel was first engineered. Much of it has to do with the fact that it burns so much cleaner than traditional diesel.
It is refined so much that it is 97% cleaner than “standard” highway use diesel fuel sold all over the United States today. It only has about 15 parts per million as far as the sulfur content is concerned. We are talking about as dramatic a reduction as it gets.
There are significant benefits to a cleaner burning motor, but one of the most significant has to be the fact that it leaves tremendously less soot in the engine. Soot from sulfur has always been a major issue in diesel engines (and why they blow gigantic plumes of midnight black smoke from their exhaust pipes), as it has a lasting impact on the durability of diesel engines. It also contaminates the air supply and is very, very harmful for the environment.
By eliminating much of the sulfur content in the fuel, these ultra low sulfur fuel options are going to help boost the longevity of diesel engines. This type of fuel is allowing them to run even longer than they already do with less regular maintenance and fewer expensive repairs along the way. It’s doing this while at the same time promoting cleaner air and a healthier environment.
How has ultra low sulfur fuel become so popular in just the last few years?
As mentioned above, the overwhelming majority of ultra low sulfur fuel (also known as ULSD) was sold predominantly in Europe and throughout Asia before it ever gained a foothold here in the United States.
The major “changeover” really didn’t begin until about halfway through 2006. That changeover only happened because of EPA regulations that required 80% of all diesel engine fuel sold for trucks that would travel the highways and byways of America have the 15 ppm sulfur standard that ULSD enjoys.
The EPA allowed for a more gradual shift from traditional diesel supplies to these newer and more efficient fuels. By 2010 every single drop of highway usage diesel fuel available for sale ANYWHERE in the United States had to be ULSD fuel.
Now it’s five years after that deadline. We are just beginning to see the beneficial impact that this transformation has put into place.
Biodiesel and ULSD fuel has transformed the future of diesel engines
One of the most impressive things about the new diesel fuel and biodiesel fuel is how effortlessly they have been able to reshape the future of diesel engines. There has been almost no real push back whatsoever from the diesel engine owning community.
Diesel engine owners absolutely love the lower costs and higher efficiency that biodiesel brings to the table. You’d be hard-pressed to find many people that run diesel equipment with ULSD fuels that aren’t very, very impressed. They’ve quickly been able to cut down on maintenance and repair costs.
Sure, the government had to come in and act at least a little bit heavy-handed in making sure that diesel fuel providers had transferred their supplies over to this new and more beneficial type of diesel fuel with those EPA regulations passed in 2006, but today – almost 10 years later – we are starting to see tremendous benefits across the board.
Our air is significantly cleaner all over the highways and byways of America. These are some of the most heavily trafficked roads on the planet today. The environment is beginning to bounce back from the damage that traditional soot filled diesel fuel exhaust caused in the first place.
Obviously, we have yet to really get to see exactly how beneficial these changes will be in the long term. Ten years really isn’t all that long in the grand scheme of things, considering that traditional diesel engines have been around for about 100 years. There’s a lot of excitement, and understandably so.
Hopefully we’ll continue to see major innovations like lower sulfur content diesel fuel continue to push the automobile industry further and further in the future. Maybe it won’t be all that long until we get to realize renewable and ultra efficient engines that eliminate the need for fossil fuels entirely.
The future really is today. We are in the middle of some of the most exciting times in automobile history. Switching our diesel vehicles over to ULSD is a great start. We’re going in the right direction. I see great things on the horizon.