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The EU’s 1998 fuel quality directive imposes limits of 50 parts per million of sulphur in both petrol and diesel from 2005, but average sulphur levels in 2004 were 35ppm in petrol and 109ppm in diesel in 14 of the 15 pre-2004 EU members (France has failed to deliver data for the past two years).
The figures would have shown an overall increase in sulphur levels if the 2003 data had not been revised upwards.
More worrying is that the trend towards lower sulphur has now stopped. Among the 10 new members, sulphur levels averaged 64ppm in petrol and 149ppm in diesel (2004).
This news story is taken from the June 2006 edition of T&E Bulletin.