Grab a pen and put a dash on your calendars, December 2010 marks the dawn of a new era in diesel fuel. From this month forth, all diesel pumps in the U.S. are required to dispense nothing but ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD) for highway applications. The multi-year switch to ULSD has allowed automakers to design oil-burning vehicles with complex emissions control technologies that have the ability to substantially lower the amount of particulate matter they emit, leading to cleaner-running automobiles.

Though December marks the end of the transition period and the introduction of ULSD at pumps nationwide, EPA surveys show that all fueling stations actually met this requirement several months ago. Data from EPA's ULSD pump survey, began in the Fourth Quarter of 2006, indicates that 100 percent of highway diesel fuel pumps were dispensing ULSD at the end of September. In addition, the sulfur content of the tested fuel averages seven parts per million (ppm), meaning that it's about 97 cleaner than the sulfur-filled (500 ppm) fuel that was used in the U.S. back in 2006. That's what we call progress.

[Source: Clean-Diesel | Image: Mulad – C.C. License 2.0]