Diesel

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 (2008) for more information about biodiesel blends.

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 (2020b). 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 2020a). 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 2019a). 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. (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.

References

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

Argonne National Laboratory (2018). GREET Model: The Greenhouse gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy use in Transportation Model. Argonne National Laboratory. https://greet.es.anl.gov/

Cai, Hao, Benavides, Thathiana, Lee, Uisung, Wang, Michael, Tan, Eric, Davis, Ryan, Dutta, Abhijit, Biddy, Mary, Clippinger, Jennifer, Grundl, Nicholas, Tao, Ling, Hartley, Damon, Roni, Mohammad, Thompson, David, Snowden-Swan, Lesley, Zhu, Yunhua, & Jones, Susanne. (2018). 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. (No. ANL/ESD-18/13). Argonne National Laboratory. https://www.osti.gov/biblio/1499023-supply-chain-sustainability-analysis-renewable-hydrocarbon-fuels-via-indirect-liquefaction-ex-situ-catalytic-fast-pyrolysis-hydrothermal-liquefaction-combined-algal-processing-biochemical-conversion-update-state-technology-cases-design-cases

DOE (2008). Clean Cities Fact Sheet: Biodiesel Blends. U.S. Department of Energy. https://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy05osti/37136.pdf

EIA (2019). Annual Energy Outlook 2019. U.S. Energy Information Administration. https://www.eia.gov/outlooks/aeo/

EIA (2020). Annual Energy Outlook 2020. U.S. Energy Information Administration. https://www.eia.gov/outlooks/aeo/

EIA (2020). U.S. Gasoline and Diesel Retail Prices. https://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/pet_pri_gnd_dcus_nus_a.htm


Developed with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.