Ultra-low sulfur diesel becomes the norm in California

| 9/1/2006

Ultra-low sulfur diesel, or ULSD, is officially on sale in California as of Friday, Sept. 1.

The rest of the country will see ULSD at the pumps by Oct. 15.

California isn’t making as big a transition as the rest of the country, however. The state had already lowered its permissible sulfur content to 150 parts per million before going to 15 ppm. The rest of the nation is going from 500 parts per million to 15 ppm.

“Land Line Now” on XM Satellite Radio checked with a handful of truck stops in California Friday to see what impact the introduction of ULSD is having on prices.

Bearing in mind that California already had some of the highest prices in the country, the spot-check didn’t show any big, overnight jumps in cost.

ULSD was selling for $3.16 a gallon at truck stops in Fresno and Fontana, CA, $3.11 in Bakersfield, CA, and $3.29 at a truck stop in Oakland, CA. Those prices compare with a national average price of diesel at the pump of $3.04 a gallon, according to ProMiles.

The new fuel blend has not been unheard of in California. Many truck stops in the state have been selling ULSD for months, so truckers have had some time to see how their engines handle it.