Project at a Glance

Title: Cost of reducing aromatics and sulfur levels in motor vehicle fuels

Principal Investigator / Author(s): Felten, John R

Contractor: Arthur D. Little, Inc.

Contract Number: A6-199-32

Research Program Area: Economic Analysis

Topic Areas: Costs


Aromatics in gasoline and diesel along with sulfur in diesel are significant contributors to automotive emissions. In this study linear programming (LP) models were developed for five refineries representative of the California refining industry and validated against historic operation. Process options to reduce gasoline and diesel contaminants were selected and represented in the LP models. The models were then used to estimate the costs of separately reducing aromatics levels in automotive gasoline, aromatics in diesel and sulfur in diesel for 1991 and 1995 based on CEC forecasts of refinery crude slate, product demands and prices. The model cost impacts were scaled up to obtain the overall cost impact in California.

Estimates were made of the impact on total aromatics and benzene in gasoline and of sulfur, aromatics and cetane levels in diesel. Finally, estimates were made of the impact of improving automotive fuel quality on refinery emissions, automotive emissions and automotive performance.

It was concluded that gasoline and diesel contaminant levels could only be reduced marginally in existing refineries but could be reduced substantially with the addition of process capacity. The cost to reduce diesel sulfur level to .05% was estimated at $.063/gallon and 0.3 billion $ investment. The cost to reduce diesel aromatics level to 10% was $.276/gallon and 1.4 billion $ investment. The cost to reduce gasoline aromatics levels by 18% was $.07/gallon and 1.4 billion $ investment.

Reductions in contaminant levels could be achieved through purchase of high quality feedstocks from outside California, but it is uncertain if these feedstocks would be available.

For questions regarding this research project, including available data and progress status, contact: Research Division staff at (916) 445-0753

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