Join Date: Jan 2006
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I Found The Reason
…for the fact that diesel costs substantially more than gasoline.
Thanks to EPA regs, all middle distillates (No.1 (aka kerosene), No. 2, Jet A, JP-8, etc) have to meet the 25 ppm standard for sulfur.
The common means of getting sulfur out of oil is to run it through a hydrodesulfurization process aka the Klaus Train. Hydrogen is bubbled through the oil under conditions favoring the sulfur reacting with the hydrogen to make hydrogen sulfide. An amine removes the hydrogen sulfide and a recycling process removes the sulfur out as yellow powder which is sold. Each pass through the Klaus Train removes about 90% of the sulfur.
Back in the 80s, crude was passed through the Klaus Train once to remove sulfur. Super-sour crude (such as from Venezuela) got run through twice. That resulted in a No. 2 with 5,000 ppm sulfur. Then the low-sulfur requirements of the early 90s came along and that forced the refiners to run refined No.2 through the Klaus Train again. This was uncharted territory running product through the Klaus Train and it resulted in a big change in the properties of diesel fuel. A lot of diesels had all their rubber goods attacked by the low sulfur diesel. Mine cost me $700 to fix. At any rate, this resulted in a No. 2 diesel fuel with <500 ppm sulfur. To get the product down more than another order of magnitude, the refineries have to run the middle distillates through the Klaus Train TWICE more. A total of four passes.
The Klaus Train has become one busy process. Thanks to other EPA regs (New Source Review, 40 CFR 60, 40 CFR 61, and 40 CFR 63) nobody has built a new Klaus Train since Jimmy Carter was President.
Houston, we have a bottleneck.
Only so much middle distillate can be forced through, so the supply is short enough to force up the price, well above that of gasoline which does not require this ultra low level of sulfur.
Good ol’ EPA. Done it to us again.