The Benefits of Low Sulphur Fuels in India
Reducing the sulphur content in vehicle fuels has many positive impacts on ambient air quality. Low sulphur fuels reduce tailpipe CO, HC, and NOx emissions from catalyst-equipped gasoline vehicles and PM emissions from diesel vehicles even without oxidation catalysts. Low sulphur fuels also work in tandem with stricter emission standards as they allow aftertreatment technologies such as lean NOx traps (LNTs), selective catalytic reduction (SCR) units, and diesel particulate filters (DPFs) to function optimally.
The reduction in emissions enabled by low sulphur fuels have a measurable impact on human health. A study in Hong Kong showed premature mortality dropped after the introduction of low sulphur fuels there. When combined with tighter emission standards, the positive health impacts of low sulphur fuels are orders of magnitude greater.
Under the current system in India, even the twenty cities with 50 ppm sulphur fuels cannot fully realize their benefits because many vehicles operating within their limits refuel in other areas. India can take steps to implement a policy of “one country, one fuel, one regulation,” and move to further reduce fuel sulphur content. The advantages of doing so are discussed in this briefing.