Stratas Advisors, a leading global provider of market analytics and energy solutions, released their annual report this month, ranking the top 100 countries limiting sulfur use in diesel. The report confirms a continued global movement toward lower sulfur content in diesel, and cites a number of countries implementing policy initiatives to make advances in their diesel refinement processes. Since Stratas Advisors’ 2016 ranking on diesel sulfur limits, seven countries improved their sulfur levels.


For decades, policymakers and industry leaders have placed emphasis on reducing sulfur limits in fuels to prevent environmental and health effects caused by fuel combustion. Since January 2009, the European Union required 100% market penetration of sulfur-free fuels (less than 10 ppm), which has positioned these countries as the top 40 leaders in sulfur reduction. Sweden, which led the way with full market penetration in 1990, continues to reign at number one.


As countries in the European Union continue to take the lead, this year’s ranking highlights seven countries that implemented stricter sulfur limits or supplied lower sulfur diesel. The seven include:

  • Bahrain
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • China
  • Lebanon
  • Macau
  • Morocco
  • Myanmar


Countries, such as Brazil and India, maintained similar standards as last year, but dropped in ranking due to other countries’ advancements in sulfur reduction and improved policies. Four Central American countries—El SalvadorGuatemalaHonduras and Nicaragua—dropped out of the 2017 ranking, because Myanmar jumped 53 places to enter the top 100 for the first time. Myanmar is followed by Lebanon, which moved up 52 places to enter at 76th place, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, which jumped 14 places to share the 61st place with Ukraine.


To establish the rankings, four primary criteria were used (in order of importance):

  1. Maximum approved limits in national standards and legislation
  2. Year of implementation for sulfur limits as required by legislation, and year of voluntary implementation—if any
  3. Limits in local or regional standards (such as specifications for cities or states)
  4. Market levels are used where necessary to help rank countries sharing the same legislated limit


To read a recent commentary on this report, visit The full report is available to members of Stratas Advisors’ Global Fuels Specifications service, which holds the complete list of rankings and other key information about sulfur content in diesel.