Questions and Answers

As of January 1, 1998, the sulphur content of diesel fuel sold in Canada is controlled by the federal Diesel Fuel Regulations

Q: Why are the federal Diesel Fuel Regulations Required?

A: New generations of advanced cleaner-burning diesel engines were introduced in Canada with the 1994 and 1998 model years. These advanced engines require the use of low sulphur diesel fuel. Also, using low sulphur diesel fuel in older engines, which technically do not require it, will reduce particulate emissions.

Q: What is required under the federal Diesel Fuel Regulations?

A: Any diesel fuel sold for on-road use must contain no more than 0.05% sulphur by weight. As of January 1, 1998, regular sulphur diesel (0.5% sulphur, maximum) can no loner be sold for on-road use.

Q: What was the sulphur content of on-road diesel fuel prior to the regulations coming into force?

A: Prior to the regulations coming into force, diesel fuel could contain up to 0.5% sulphur by weight (regular sulphur). Low sulphur diesel fuel (0.05% sulphur, maximum) has been available since October 1994. In fact, most of the major petroleum suppliers have sold only low sulphur diesel fuel in their retails networks for on-road use since then.

Q: Will extending the use of low sulphur diesel to all on-road diesel engines have any impact on their performance or durability?

A: No. There were initially concerns about the lubricity of low sulphur diesel fuel. These have since been addressed by Canadian refiners, and have largely proven to be unfounded.

Q: Must on-road diesel fuel consumers have all their inventory converted to low sulphur diesel fuel by January 1, 1998?

A: No. On-road diesel fuel consumers who have regular sulphur diesel fuel in inventory on January 1, 1998, can use it use after that date without penalty.

Q: How can I tell if diesel fuel is low sulphur or regular sulphur?

A: The seller is responsible for identifying whether the diesel fuel is low or regular sulphur. In most cases, the colour of the diesel fuel is a good indicator. On-road los sulphur diesel fuel will be undyed. Regular sulphur diesel fuel will often contain red or purple taxation dye, as it will be sold only for tax-exempt off-road use as of January 1, 1998.

Q: If I purchase diesel fuel at an unattended fueling facility (i.e. cardlock, keylock), how can I tell if the dispesning pump will deliver low sulphur or regular sulphur diesel?

A: It is the responsibility of sellers and suppliers to provide proper labeling and other resources to guard against misfueling. Many low sulphur diesel dispensers have a distinctive round yellow decal with a black centre. Regular sulphur diesel dispensers will have an octagonal red decal indicating. "Not for on-road use".

Q: Will it still be legal to use tax-exempt regular sulphur diesel fuel in truck refrigeration units?

A: Yes, provided this complies with the tax regulations in the province where the fuel is purchased.