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PEMEX - The Facts About Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD)

by Aura Catalina, Baja Good Life Club Staff Writer
source: BGL Club - Nov 11, 2011

UPDATED - Dec. 3, 2015: See Below
Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD) is the type of diesel fuel which has very low sulfur content. ULSD is more environmentally friendly as compared with Low Sulfur Diesel fuel (LSD). Starting with 2006, ULSD has been widely available across North America and Europe. This occurred because the countries from North American and Europe adopted new emission standards which involved extensive use of ULSD. Some countries from the rest of the world took similar measures while others lagged behind.

In 2004, a team of experts set up a plan which would substantially improve the quality of air in Mexico. The main recommendation of this plan was to have Mexico comply with the new emission standards already in use in many countries. Even though the Mexican environmental agency (SEMARNAT) stipulated that PEMEX should make ULSD widely available by 2009, it did not implement any new emission standards. As a result, PEMEX failed to meet the deadline, and ULSD can be purchased only in the northern border area, Mexico City, and Guadalajara.  

Starting with 2007, all Diesel vehicles manufactured in US have been designed for ULSD. There has been a lot of debate over the impact of LSD on newer diesels that run on ULSD. Many experts and owners agree that LSD does not affect the performance of the vehicle. The real issue lies in the fact that a person might lose their warranty for some components in case they use LSD on a ULSD vehicle.

The efforts of the Mexican government to make ULSD available have met with limited success so far. Owners of vehicles which run on ULSD can purchase the fuel in Northern Baja. Unfortunately, PEMEX gas stations located in Southern Baja sell only LSD fuel brought from the mainland. To find the stations with ULSD, look for the words "bajo azufre", which translated means “low-sulfur“, below the word "Diesel" on the gas station signage. 

UPDATE: 12/03/2015
ULSD (UBA) ultra low sulfur diesel is now available all over the northern states including Baja California Norte and Sonora. Nearly all stations in this region only carry low sulfur diesel and DO NOT carry regular diesel any longer.


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