February 24, 2021

Improvements in Emission Standards and Projected Sulfur Reduction Anticipated in Latin America in 2021 and Onward

Stratas Advisors

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Within Latin America, various countries continue to work to improve the fuel quality of diesel and gasoline; in addition to promoting the use of biofuels and advancing the use of Euro based vehicle emission standards. The quality of gasoline and diesel in the region has made significant progress over the past several years, although the changes have continued steadily. Future plans include in particular for Colombia to decrease gasoline sulfur content by more than 200 ppm and for Mexico to eventually move to 15 ppm sulfur diesel nationwide by 2024.

The Latin American region continues to move towards the use of lower sulfur gasoline within the respective countries (see table below). Among the countries that made progress towards this goal was Argentina, in which the country began distributing and commercializing the Ultra Grado 3 gasoline with max 10 ppm sulfur since January 2020. Additionally, the country plans to continue sulfur reduction in the Super Grado 2 gasoline grade from 150 ppm to 50 ppm max beginning January 2024.  

Although several countries continue to utilize gasoline with sulfur content equivalent to Euro 3 standards or higher, the region appears to be split in terms of the maximum sulfur limits for gasoline in their respective country. Despite having a specification in place for 2,000 ppm sulfur gasoline, Peru also offers a 50 ppm sulfur grade (Euro 4 equivalent) for distribution and sale in the country. This approach of offering different grades of gasoline with varying sulfur content appears to complement the age of vehicle fleets in the respective countries, in which the newer vehicles tend to require a grade equivalent to Euro 3 or higher. 

In addition, the use of biodiesel and ethanol has experienced considerable growth in the region. As we move into 2021, expectations are that several countries will increase the maximum allowable blending limit for biodiesel, while other countries will continue their work to incorporate the use of ethanol blended gasoline. Overall, the goal for the countries in Latin America is to provide cleaner burning fuels across the region in order to implement the appropriate emission standards compatible with their respective fuel specifications.

Current Gasoline Sulfur Limits in Latin America

10-15 ppm

30-50 ppm

80-150 ppm

300-500 ppm

650-1,000 ppm

2,000 ppm


French Guiana
















Source: Stratas Advisors, February 2021

The 14 countries covered in the full report include: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela. The information included in the report discusses recent developments for emission standards, gasoline, diesel, and biofuels specifications that occurred since the last report (see Insights, Nov. 21, 2019).


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