Air Resources Board OKs Another Clean Diesel Fuel
For immediate release
SACRAMENTO - In another step toward reducing diesel soot and urban smog, Governor Wilson's California Air Resources Board (ARB) today announced that a second major oil company has received its apporval to produce a clean-burning diesel fuel that will meet the ARB's standards required of all refiners by October of this year.
The formula developed by Texaco is an alternative to the "clean diesel recipe" adopted by the ARB in November 1988, but was approved because it is equally effective in reducing emissions.
Although the ARB already requires the nation's cleanest diesel fuel, the 1993 standards -- and Texaco's formula -- are expected to reduce soot-like emissions from existing trucks and buses by about 17 percent, as well as help engine manufacturers meet ARB tailpipe standards that require "sootless" new models.
The ARB standards require an 80 percent cut in sulfur and up to a 66 percent reduction in aromatic hydrocarbons, a component of diesel fuel that is most effective in forming soot-like particles. Reducing aromatic hydrocarbons also cuts emissions of nitrogen oxides, which form acid rain and urban smog, as well as benzene and other highly toxic and potentially cancer-causing compounds.
To meet the new standards, Texaco chose to take advantage of a provision in the ARB's rules that gives companies the flexibility to develop alternative formulas to the ARB specifications, as long as they reduce the same amount of pollution. By juggling the level of other components in diesel fuel, Texaco was able to take advantage of its refinery design to produce an equally clean diesel fuel at lower cost.
The ARB estimates the cost of the cleaner diesel fuel to be about six cents more per gallon, 50 percent less than estimates made when the rules were adopted. The flexibility that refiners have in determining how to meet the rule, combined with advances in catalytic technology, have contributed to the cost cuts.
"We adopted a clean air recipe for diesel fuel to reduce people's exposure to soot-like pollution and to continue our policy of requiring cleaner fuels of all types," said Jananne Sharpless, ARB cahirwoman. "We also wanted to be flexible, so we gave the oil industry the opportunity to develop their own formulas, as long as they were as clean-burning as ours," she continued. "Texaco has taken advantage of the ARB's policy and has developed a diesel fuel that is lower polluting at a lower cost."
Sharpless added that the new formula will help insure that there will be adequate supply of the cleaner-burning diesel fuel as the deadline for the rule approaches. Sharpless also noted that, because Texaco has a key refinery in Bakersfield, that it will make supplies of the clean fuel more readily available for agricultural customers in the San Joaquin Valley, who rely heavily on diesel fuel to power trucks and field equipment.
Texaco becomes the second major oil company to take advantage of the ARB rule to develop an alternative formula for cleaner diesel fuel, joining Chevron USA, which received ARB approval for its formulation last June.
Sharpless noted that many other oil companies are gearing up to either meet the ARB specifications or to develop alternatives of their own. "As long as there is a market for diesel fuel, we are confident that there will be enough supply to meet the demand," she said.