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Sulfur content of gasoline and diesel fuels in northern China


  • Zhang, Kesong
  • Hu, Jingnan
  • Gao, Shuzheng
  • Liu, Yungang
  • Huang, Xianjiang
  • Bao, Xiaofeng


In order to investigate vehicle fuel quality in northern China, the sulfur content of fuels purchased from the market has been studied. 235 samples from urban areas and highway service stations were collected and tested with energy dispersive X-ray fluorescence spectrometry. 88% of the gasoline samples contained sulfur below 500Â ppm, the limit then in effect, and 92.5% of the diesel fuel samples were below 2000Â ppm, the required limit. China's Ministry of Environmental Protection recommend lower sulfur to assure that the vehicles using the fuels comply with the China III emission standards--those limits are 150Â ppm sulfur for gasoline and 350Â ppm for diesel fuel. The recommended limits were not often met: in Jinan, Shanghai, Changchun and Xi'an, 0%, 11%, 46% and 60% of the gasoline sampled were below 150Â ppm sulfur. For samples from highway stations, only 14-58% of gasoline was under the 150Â ppm sulfur and only 0-67% of diesel samples below 350Â ppm in different regions. This mismatch, between fuel sulfur levels that would enable vehicle emission controls to operate effectively, and the actual fuel sulfur levels at service stations, results in unnecessarily high pollution from potentially cleaner vehicles.

Suggested Citation

  • Zhang, Kesong & Hu, Jingnan & Gao, Shuzheng & Liu, Yungang & Huang, Xianjiang & Bao, Xiaofeng, 2010. "Sulfur content of gasoline and diesel fuels in northern China," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(6), pages 2934-2940, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:38:y:2010:i:6:p:2934-2940

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    Cited by:

    1. Ma, Linwei & Fu, Feng & Li, Zheng & Liu, Pei, 2012. "Oil development in China: Current status and future trends," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 43-53.
    2. Shen, Wei & Han, Weijian & Chock, David & Chai, Qinhu & Zhang, Aling, 2012. "Well-to-wheels life-cycle analysis of alternative fuels and vehicle technologies in China," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 296-307.
    3. Yue, Xin & Wu, Ye & Hao, Jiming & Pang, Yuan & Ma, Yao & Li, Yi & Li, Boshi & Bao, Xiaofeng, 2015. "Fuel quality management versus vehicle emission control in China, status quo and future perspectives," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 87-98.
    4. Zhao, Chunfu & Chen, Bin, 2014. "China’s oil security from the supply chain perspective: A review," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 136(C), pages 269-279.


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