Annual Ranking Shows Reduced Sulfur Content in Gasoline Around World, Several Countries Positioned to Improve

Europe still rules top of International Fuel Quality Center list, but progress is widespread

HOUSTON (April 16, 2013) – Hart Energy’s annual ranking of the Top 100 countries by gasoline sulfur limits confirms the global movement toward cleaner fuel is continuing, and a number of countries are primed to make significant advances.
“Mainstream news media reports tend to focus on biofuels, but there clearly is still a need to focus on traditional pollutants,” said Liisa Kiuru-Griffith, executive director, International Fuel Quality Center (IFQC), which conducted the research. “Recently, the U.S. EPA announced its proposed Tier 3 vehicle emission standards. When they come into force in 2017, they will be intended to reduce the annual average sulfur content in gasoline to a maximum of 10 parts per million (ppm) annual average from the current average of 15 ppm.”

Germany still holds the No. 1 position among the world’s Top 100 and European Union (EU) member states dominate the top 50, but Hart Energy fuel experts who compiled the rankings determined that nine countries outside North America and the EU saw sufficient improvement in their gasoline sulfur content to warrant upward movement in the ranking. Those countries are Algeria, Argentina, Belarus, China, Jordan, Malawi, Montenegro, Pakistan, and Russia.

Sulfur is found naturally in crude oil. As a result, it passes into refined products, such as transportation fuels, when crude is processed at the refinery. When sulfur is emitted into the air during fuel combustion, its compounds can have negative environmental and health effects. Environmental damage to forests, crops, and water supplies can also result from long-term, high-sulfur emissions. Gasoline desulfurization improves engine efficiency and leads to reduced overall emissions of sulfur, hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, and toxics such as benzene.

“Sulfur is only one of many properties to consider in the effort to reduce vehicle emissions,” said Kristine Klavers, senior vice president, Hart Energy. “Other aspects of fuel quality have direct impact on emissions as well. At the IFQC, we look forward to working with governments and industry to tackle issues like the content of lead, benzene, aromatics, and olefins in fuels and to prepare for the introduction of advanced emission control technologies.”

Policymakers worldwide have emphasized the importance of reducing sulfur limits in fuels for more than a decade, but variations remain. Globally, most countries are moving toward low-sulfur, cleaner fuels.

The complete ranking can be found on the IFQC website at For questions about this ranking, or to learn more about the International Fuel Quality Center, contact Liisa Kiuru-Griffith ( or +1.713.260.6474).

About Hart Energy

For 30-plus years, Hart Energy has been a leader covering news and technology for energy investors and executives. The Houston-based company publishes Oil and Gas Investor, E&P, Midstream Business, FUEL, online data services and newsletters, and provides research and consulting services. With its successful DUG™ conferences, maps, playbooks, and research studies, Hart Energy offers exceptional depth in unconventional resources information. Learn more at

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