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Service Station
Remember to keep all
pumps properly labeled
(especially when refacing
or replacing pumps).

Photo of an oil rig

Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel is the primary
highway diesel fuel produced.

The full transition to ULSD fuel is complex and involves coordination at many levels. Under the EPA standards:

Effective Dates for Highway ULSD Fuel
What U.S. California
Refiners &
Import/produce at least 80% ULSD for on highway use 6/01/06  
Import/produce at least 100% ULSD for on highway use 6/01/10 6/01/06
Downstream from
Refineries through
Fuel Terminals
Facilities that choose to carry ULSD must meet 15 ppm
sulfur specification
All highway diesel must be ULSD 10/01/10 7/15/06
Retail Outlets Facilities that choose to carry ULSD must meet
15 ppm sulfur specification
All highway diesel must be ULSD 12/01/10 9/01/06

Although ULSD fuel is the dominant highway diesel fuel produced, EPA does not require service stations and truck stops to sell ULSD fuel. Therefore, ULSD fuel might not be available at every service station or truck stop. Diesel retailers may choose to sell Low Sulfur Diesel fuel instead of ULSD fuel until December 1, 2010, when only ULSD fuel will be available for highway use. The industries involved in the transition are doing all they can to minimize potential inconveniences during the conversion to ULSD fuel.

Federal regulations require the labeling of diesel fuel pumps to specify the type of fuel dispensed by each pump (except in California where all diesel fuel must be ULSD). Similar vehicle instrument panel and fuel inlet/fill cap labeling is mandated for 2007 and later model year highway engines and vehicles that require ULSD fuel.* Consumers are advised to check the pump and vehicle labels to ensure they are refueling with the proper diesel fuel consistent with their vehicle warranties.

Data from EPA's ULSD pump survey from the Fourth Quarter of 2006 through the Third Quarter of 2011 indicate that nearly 100 percent of highway diesel fuel pumps are now dispensing Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD).

The EPA standards provide strong incentives for suppliers to provide the proper ULSD fuel formulation. Civil penalties of up to $32,500 per violation per day can be assessed for non-compliance with EPA’s ULSD fuel standards, or for misrepresentation of the sulfur level of diesel fuel.

Click here for EPA Winterization Standards Letter 11-30-07 (PDF)


*Exception – Some 2007 model year medium-duty and heavy-duty trucks may be equipped with 2006 engines and emission systems. These vehicles are not required to use ULSD fuel.


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