September 29, 2020

20 Countries Advance in Top 100 Ranking on Gasoline Benzene Limits

Stratas Advisors

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Stratas Advisors’ Top 100 gasoline benzene ranking confirms the continued worldwide movement toward benzene elimination in gasoline and cites several countries that have positioned themselves through policy initiatives to make advances in this area given the well-known fact that benzene is a carcinogen (see table below for the ranking). However, aspects other than benzene elimination — among them sulfur, aromatics, olefins and volatility — are also important in determining gasoline quality as well as influencing vehicle emissions.

The last ranking for benzene was carried out in 2017 (see Insights, June 21, 2017). South Korea continues to reign No. 1 with the world’s strictest benzene limit of 0.7 vol% followed by China with 0.8 wt%, while EU countries continue to dominate the Top 35 as benzene-free gasoline (less than 1 vol%) was legislatively required since January 2000. Currently, a total of 139 countries regulate benzene in gasoline as compared to 123 countries from the 2017 ranking. In addition, Stratas Advisors observes that 78 countries (56%) now set a maximum benzene limit of 1 vol% and below, compared to the 65 countries from the 2017 ranking. 
 
In the 2020 ranking, a total of 20 countries moved up or entered the Top 100 for the first time. They include:
 
  1. Austria;
  2. Benin;
  3. China;
  4. Costa Rica;
  5. Denmark;
  6. Ghana;
  7. Ireland;
  8. Kazakhstan;
  9. Kenya;
  10. Lebanon;
  11. Luxembourg;
  12. Moldova;
  13. Nepal;
  14. Netherlands;
  15. Oman;
  16. Rwanda;
  17. Singapore
  18. Slovakia;
  19. Slovenia; and
  20. Uganda.

These countries moved up or newly entered the 2020 ranking, because they either:

  • Implemented a stricter benzene limit;
  • Set a new benzene spec for the first time;
  • Supplied gasoline with benzene content lower than their legislated limit; or
  • New information was found for them since the last ranking.

Of the 20 countries, Oman made the biggest jump with 61 places to rank at 69th, followed by China which moved up 49 places to rank at 2nd place and Lebanon 47 places to rank at 63rd. It is also worthwhile to note that Nepal, Costa Rica and Benin newly entered the Top 100 for the first time, with Nepal making the highest entry at 69th place, followed by Costa Rica at 84th and Benin at 93rd. Because of the above mandatory or voluntary reductions in benzene levels, nine countries of Bolivia, Qatar, Trinidad and Tobago, Tanzania, Burundi, Sri Lanka, Kuwait and Libya dropped out of the 2020 ranking.

Other top gasoline markets that dropped in the rankings including Canada, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and U.S. did not alter their gasoline specifications but were simply passed by others that implemented stricter benzene limits. Indonesia is the only top gasoline market that is outside of the Top 100 as benzene is regulated at 5 vol% for its premium grades (benzene is not regulated for its regular grades). In the 2020 ranking, Bahrain ranked at 100th place with a limit of 3 vol%, as compared to Libya with 4 vol% from the 2017 ranking thereby showing a reduction in benzene limits across the board.

Even though cities and provinces are not officially ranked, it is worthwhile noting that even though the U.S. state of California currently requires a benzene cap of 1.1 vol%, as compared to the current U.S. federal maximum average limit of 1.5 vol%.

Maximum Gasoline Benzene Limits (2020)

Source: Stratas Advisors, September 2020

2020 Top 100 Gasoline Benzene Ranking

Rank

Country/ Region

Change

1

South Korea

+0

2

China

+49

3

Belgium

+0

Ireland

+1

Luxembourg

+9

6

Germany

-4

7

Italy

-3

France

-3

United Kingdom

-3

10

Netherlands

+2

Sweden

-6

Austria

+2

Finland

-1

14

Greece

-5

Denmark

+2

Spain

-5

Portugal

-2

18

Iceland

-1

Japan

-1

Liechtenstein

-1

Norway

-1

Switzerland

-1

Taiwan

-1

Hong Kong

-1

25

Romania

-1

26

Hungary

-1

27

Slovakia

+5

28

Poland

+0

Malta

-1

30

Slovenia

+2

31

Latvia

-3

Cyprus

-5

33

Czech Republic

-5

34

Estonia

-2

35

Lithuania

-7

36

Jordan

-1

Chile

-1

38

French Guiana

-1

Guadeloupe

-1

Israel

-1

Martinique

-1

42

New Zealand

-1

43

Australia

-1

44

Croatia

-2

45

Bulgaria

-1

46

Fiji

-1

Turkey

-1

49

Bosnia & Herzegovina

-2

Albania

-2

Macedonia

-2

New Caledonia

-2

52

India

+0

53

Montenegro

+0

Russia

+0

Kosovo

+0

56

Thailand

+0

Argentina

+0

58

Belarus

+0

Serbia

+0

60

Brazil

+0

Uruguay

+0

Ukraine

+0

63

Kazakhstan

+38

Lebanon

+47

65

Armenia

-1

66

Macau

-2

Singapore

+45

Ghana

+9

69

Moldova

+36

Kenya

+27

Nepal

NEW

Rwanda

+24

Uganda

+24

Oman

+61

75

Bahamas

-9

76

Iran

-9

Seychelles

-8

78

Suriname

-10

#

California

 

79

United States

-9

80

Venezuela

-9

81

Canada

-9

82

United Arab Emirates

-9

83

Paraguay

-9

84

Costa Rica

NEW

85

Iraq

-9

86

Guyana

-9

87

Colombia

-9

88

Ecuador

-9

89

Mexico

-9

90

Philippines

-27

91

Nigeria

-10

92

Mauritania

-10

93

Benin

NEW

94

Vietnam

-11

95

Peru

-11

96

Saudi Arabia

-5

97

Georgia

-12

98

Angola

-12

99

Syria

-12

100

Bahrain

-12

Note: # Not actually included in ranking; highlighted for significant achievement.

Source: Stratas Advisors, September 2020


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