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You are viewing an older version of the ATB. The current content for ATB transportation is 2022.

Diesel Fuel

Explore the fuel price and emissions intensity of finished diesel fuels.

See the diesel biofuel blendstock section for detailed information about the blendstocks. See the Clean Cities fact sheet (DOE, 2008)for more information about biodiesel blends.


Fuel NameConventional Low SulfurRenewable Diesel
Fuel PathwayLow Sulfur Diesel 2050Low Sulfur Diesel 2050 Low PriceLow Sulfur Diesel 2050 High PriceConv Low Sulfur DieselBiofuel (Diesel)
ScenarioFuture Model, High VolFuture Model, High VolFuture Model, High VolCurrent MarketFuture Model, High Vol
Fuel Price
CO2e Emissions (Well to Tank)
NOX Emissions (Well to Tank)
SOX Emissions (Well to Tank)
PM Emissions (Well to Tank)
CO2e Emissions (Well to Wheels)
NOX Emissions (Well to Wheels)
SOX Emissions (Well to Wheels)
PM Emissions (Well to Wheels)

Note: The renewable diesel included in the Annual Technology Baseline is not commercialized yet, and data are provided for a blendstock that will be blended with ultra-low-sulfur diesel. The specific blend levels are yet to be determined.

Key Assumptions

The data and estimates presented here are based on the following key assumptions:

  • The fuel price (e.g., Lowest Cost, Lowest Emissions) is associated with a single year. Because we do not provide a time-series trajectory, here we show fuel price at a frozen level for all years so we can offer a range of fuel price values. In the levelized cost of driving and emissions charts, this approach clearly distinguishes effects of fuels from those of vehicle technologies, because fuels remain constant while vehicle technologies change over time.
  • The finished fuel price estimates represent retail equivalent prices, and they include distribution costs and taxes.
  • The fuel price for ultra-low-sulfur diesel is estimated from the 2018 average retail price of diesel (on-highway) ultra-low sulfur (15 ppm and under) from EIA (EIA, 2020a). The price is in dollars per gallon using lower heating values of gasoline (112,194 Btu/gal) and ultra-low-sulfur diesel (129,488 Btu/gal) from GREET 2018 (Argonne National Laboratory, 2018).
  • The 2050 ultra-low-sulfur conventional diesel estimates are from Annual Energy Outlook 2020(EIA, 2020b). The 2050 estimate is from the Reference case, and the 2050 high price and low price estimates are from the High Oil Price and Low Oil Price cases, respectively.
  • For renewable diesel, the retail prices is estimated from the biodiesel blendstock wholesale price of $2.61/gal ($2.55/gge) and the addition of $1.12/gal based on the 2018 average distribution costs ($0.53/gal) and taxes ($0.59/gal) estimated from the 2018 fuel price components from the Annual Energy Outlook 2019 Reference case (EIA, 2019). The prices are converted to and from dollars per gasoline gallon equivalent using the lower heating values of renewable diesel (117,059 Btu/gal) and gasoline (112,194 Btu/gal) from GREET 2018. The renewable diesel included in the Transportation ATB is not commercialized yet. Data are provided for a blendstock that will be blended with ultra-low-sulfur diesel, but the specific blend levels are yet to be determined.
  • The emission estimates for low-sulfur diesel are from GREET 2018.
  • Note that the reference used for the biodiesel blendstock, Cai et al. (Cai et al., 2018), only provide well-to-wheels emissions estimates for CO2e and NOX, so other emissions are not presented.
  • The biogenic carbon in a biofuel such as the renewable diesel pathway is considered carbon-neutral in the GREET model, as the biogenic carbon is assumed to be sourced from the atmosphere during biomass growth. Per the GREET model convention, the biogenic carbon credit is allocated to the well-to-tank phase of the biofuel life cycle, which often results in a negative well-to-tank CO2e emissions value after taking into account greenhouse gas emissions associated with all upstream activities (e.g., farming, land use change, feedstock transportation, and biomass conversion to biofuel).
  • The data downloads include additional detail on assumptions and calculations for each metric.


For detailed definitions, see: 

CO2e emissions

Conventional low-sulfur diesel

Fuel price

NOX emissions

PM emissions

Renewable diesel


SOX emissions

Well-to-tank emissions

Well-to-wheels emissions


The following references are specific to this page; for all references in this ATB, see References.

DOE. “Clean Cities Fact Sheet: Biodiesel Blends.” U.S. Department of Energy, April 2008.

EIA. “U.S. Gasoline and Diesel Retail Prices,” July 13, 2020a.

EIA. “Annual Energy Outlook 2020.” Washington, D.C.: U.S. Energy Information Administration, January 29, 2020b.

Argonne National Laboratory. GREET Model: The Greenhouse Gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy Use in Transportation Model. Argonne, IL (United States): Argonne National Laboratory, 2018.

EIA. “Annual Energy Outlook 2019.” Washington, D.C.: U.S. Energy Information Administration, 2019.

Cai, Hao, Thathiana Benavides, Uisung Lee, Michael Wang, Eric Tan, Ryan Davis, Abhijit Dutta, et al. “Supply Chain Sustainability Analysis of Renewable Hydrocarbon Fuels via Indirect Liquefaction, Ex Situ Catalytic Fast Pyrolysis, Hydrothermal Liquefaction, Combined Algal Processing, and Biochemical Conversion: Update of the 2018 State-of-Technology Cases and Design Cases.” Argonne, IL (United States): Argonne National Laboratory, December 1, 2018.

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