Growing Global Trend: Lower Sulfur Content in Diesel

Stratas Advisors Ranks Top 100 Countries

Houston, TX (March 16, 2016) – Stratas Advisors’ annual top 100 rankings report affirms a continued global movement toward lower sulfur content in diesel. For decades, policymakers and industry leaders have placed emphasis on reducing sulfur limits in fuels. Sulfur compounds (naturally found in crude oil) have adverse environmental and health effects when emitted into the air through fuel combustion. Diesel de-sulfurization dramatically improves tailpipe emissions.

Diesel Sulfur Map 2016

Stratas Advisors’ report cites a number of countries that have positioned themselves through policy initiatives to make advances in the near future. Sweden continues to reign at number one followed by Germany, Japan and Finland. European countries dominate the top 40. Since January 2009, they have been required to implement 100-percent market penetration of sulfur-free (less than 10 ppm) fuels. Sweden led the way with full market penetration in 1990. Sixteen countries moved up or were newly added to the 2016 rankings.

“Sulfur continues to be a key parameter in diesel quality improvement around the world,” said Huiming Li, Director - Global Fuel Specifications. “Eight countries moved up the ranking because of reductions in diesel sulfur limits in 2015-2016. These 8 countries came from the emerging economies of Asia Pacific, Latin America and the CIS, including Russia which moved to a diesel sulfur limit of 10 ppm starting January 1, 2016.”

Kyrgyzstan, Macau, Paraguay, Philippines, Russia, Sudan, Ukraine and Vietnam moved up because of changes in sulfur limits over 2015-2016.

Other than sulfur reduction, these elements are also important in determining diesel quality: cetane, lubricity, polyaromatics, density and cold flow.

To establish the rankings, four primary criteria were used (in order of importance):

  1. Maximum allowable limits in national standards and legislation
  2. Year of implementation for sulfur limits as required by legislation, and year of voluntary implementation ─ if any
  3. Limits in local or regional standards (such as specifications for cities or states)
  4. Market levels are also used wherever available to more accurately rank countries sharing the same legislated limit.

To read a recent commentary on this report, visit The full report is available to members of Stratas Advisors’ Global Fuels Specifications service. It has the complete list of rankings and other key information about sulfur content in diesel.

Experts Available for Interviews
Stratas Advisors’ experts are available to answer questions about the global fuel market and can offer insight about the energy industry. For interview opportunities, please contact

Huiming Li, Director, Global Fuel Specifications – Based in Singapore
Huiming Li directs research and consulting for the Global Fuel Specifications service (formerly the International Fuel Quality Center). Li leads GFS’s mission to improve communications among the refining, automobile and governmental sectors and enhance understanding of fuel-quality issues. She advises GFS clients, companies, governments and non-governmental organizations on fuel quality and policy issues. She serves as a senior analyst for Stratas Advisors. Li is a native of Singapore, earned her bachelor’s degree with honors in chemical engineering from the National University of Singapore.

About Stratas Advisors
Stratas Advisors is a global consulting and advisory firm covering the full spectrum of the energy market — upstream, midstream and downstream — and related sectors, such as automotive, transportation, power, petrochemicals and heavy industries. The company also evaluates and assesses the impact of macro-level drivers including geopolitics, macro-economics and energy policies. Experienced Stratas analysts and consultants provide data, analysis and strategic insights to leading businesses, governments and institutions to identify, understand and monitor key drivers that shape future developments. This forward-looking perspective helps clients leverage opportunities, mitigate risks and implement strategies. Stratas Advisors, a Hart Energy company, is based in Houston, Texas and has offices in Brussels and Singapore. For information, visit