May 25, 2016

Stratas Advisors’ Rankings Confirm Movement to Lower Sulfur Content in Gasoline

Stratas Advisors

This report segment is from Stratas Advisors’ Global Fuels Specifications service. The full report contains the top 100 lower sulfur content rankings, an explanation of the methodology used to construct the rankings, and future expectations of the drive to lower the sulfur count.

Stratas Advisors’ annual Top 100 rankings of gasoline sulfur limits confirm a continued worldwide movement toward lower sulfur content in gasoline. The latest rankings reveal that several countries that have positioned themselves through policy initiatives to make advances in this area in the near future (the full report contains the complete rankings.)

However, aspects other than sulfur reduction — among them benzene, aromatics, olefins and volatility — are important in determining gasoline quality as well as influencing vehicle emissions.

EU countries continue to dominate the Top 40, as they have been required to implement 100% market penetration of sulfur-free (less than 10 ppm) fuels since January 2009. The previous rankings were carried out in May 2015. Germany, which led the way with full market penetration in 2003, continues to reign at No. 1.

Even though cities such as Beijing are not officially ranked, the Chinese city achieved 10 ppm in May 2012, ahead of the rest of China which is currently required to meet a maximum sulfur limit of 50 ppm.

Nine countries moved up or were newly added to the 2016 rankings: Belarus, Ukraine, Philippines, Vietnam, Mexico, Armenia, Paraguay, Seychelles and Malaysia. Of the nine, Seychelles was added to the Top 100 for the first time, settling in at 78th place with its imported gasoline found to contain max 150 ppm sulfur.

Vietnam had the greatest jump, 38 places, to rank at 58th, followed by the Philippines with 26 places to rank at 57th. Since Jan. 1, 2016, the Philippines implemented 50 ppm sulfur gasoline nationwide. While Vietnam also reduced its gasoline sulfur limit to 50 ppm some 500 ppm sulfur gasoline can still be found on the market, thus resulting in it ranking it one place below the Philippines. 

It is also worthwhile to note that the Ukraine entered the Top 50, even though it did not enforce a national sulfur limit of 10 ppm but a limit of 50 ppm. This means that its ranking is likely to change in the future if they are superseded by another country implementing a 10 ppm sulfur limit.

Because of the above reductions in maximum sulfur limits to 150 ppm and below, three countries ─ French Polynesia, Panama and Syria ─ dropped out of the 2016 rankings. Many of the countries that dropped in the rankings include top gasoline markets such as Brazil, Canada, China, Indonesia and Russia.

The United States did not alter its gasoline specifications but were simply passed by others that implemented stricter sulfur limits. In the 2016 ranking, Iraq and Fiji shared the last place at 99th with a national sulfur limit of 500 ppm, which remained the same limit as from the 2015 rankings.

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