Skip to main content
Sign up for general email updates regarding the ATB
The 2023 Electricity ATB is live! Join the webinar to learn what's new. Register to attend or sign up for general email updates.

Diesel Fuel

Explore the fuel price and emissions intensity of finished diesel fuels. Ultra-low-sulfur diesel and renewable diesel are the finished diesel fuels presented here. Other types of biomass can be used to make renewable diesel, but these pathways are not shown for simplicity.

See the Diesel Bio-Based Blendstock section for detailed information about blendstocks. Biodiesel can be blended at various levels, up to 20% biodiesel and 80% finished diesel fuel. It is not included on this page because it is a blendstock, not a finished diesel fuel. 

For additional background, see the Alternative Fuels Data Center's renewable diesel and biodiesel webpages. 

Emissions estimates use the Argonne National Laboratory's GREET model (Wang et al., 2022). The underlying source for a value in the table can be seen by placing your mouse cursor over that value. The data sources are also cited—with hyperlinked linked references—in the Key Assumptions section below. 

Key Assumptions

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

  • Fuel Price: 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.
  • Fuel Price Composition: The finished fuel price estimates represent retail equivalent prices, and they include Taxes and Distribution Cost.
  • Ultra-Low-Sulfur Diesel Estimates: The fuel price for ultra-low-sulfur diesel is estimated from the 2020 average retail price of the diesel (on-highway) ultra-low-sulfur (15 ppm and under) category from EIA (EIA, 2020). Prices are converted to dollars per gasoline gallon equivalent for light-duty vehicles and dollars per diesel gallon equivalent for MDHD vehicles using the Lower Heating Values from the GREET model. (Wang et al., 2021).
  • Future Ultra-Low-Sulfur Diesel Estimates: The 2050 ultra-low-sulfur diesel estimates are from EIA's Annual Energy Outlook 2021 (EIA, 2021). 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.
  • Current Market Renewable Diesel Estimates: For renewable diesel in the current market, the retail price is estimated from the relative price of renewable diesel compared to ultra-low-sulfur diesel in California in 2020 from the Clean Cities Alternative Fuel Price Report (DOE, 2020). High demand and high biomass feedstock prices have caused renewable diesel prices to increase since then, but base year consistency present this older value.
  • Current and Future Pathways: The pathways for future renewable diesel are not the same as current pathways. The retail price is estimated from the diesel bio-based blendstock wholesale price with Taxes and Distribution Cost added. Prices are converted to dollars per gasoline gallon equivalent for light-duty vehicles and dollars per diesel gallon equivalent for MDHD vehicles using the Lower Heating Values from the GREET model. 
  • Biogenic Carbon: The biogenic carbon in a biofuel (e.g. renewable diesel) 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).
  • Fuels References: See blendstocks pages for diesel bio-based blendstock for a full description of fuels references, which include al. (Tao et al., 2017)(Tan et al., 2021)(Wang et al., 2022)(Xie et al., 2011), and (Xu et al., 2022).

The data downloads include additional details of assumptions and calculations for each metric.

To see additional information, place your mouse cursor over a value in the table. 


For detailed definitions, see:





Ultra-Low-Sulfur Diesel

Fuel price

Renewable diesel


Well-to-tank emissions

Well-to-wheels emissions


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

Wang, Michael, Amgad Elgowainy, Uisung Lee, Kwang Hoon Baek, Adarsh Bafana, Pahola Thathiana Benavides, Andrew Burnham, et al. “Summary of Expansions and Updates in GREET® 2022.” Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States), October 1, 2022.

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

Wang, Michael, Amgad Elgowainy, Uisung Lee, Adarsh Bafana, Sudhanya Banerjee, Pahola T. Benavides, Pallavi Bobba, et al. Greenhouse Gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy Use in Technologies Model ® (2021 Excel). USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), 2021.

EIA. “Annual Energy Outlook 2021.” Washington, D.C.: U.S. Energy Information Administration, February 2021.

DOE. “Clean Cities Alternative Fuel Price Report, October 2020,” 2020.

Tao, Ling, Anelia Milbrandt, Yanan Zhang, and Wei-Cheng Wang. “Techno-Economic and Resource Analysis of Hydroprocessed Renewable Jet Fuel.” Biotechnology for Biofuels 10, no. 1 (November 9, 2017): 261.

Tan, Eric C. D., Troy R. Hawkins, Uisung Lee, Ling Tao, Pimphan A. Meyer, Michael Wang, and Tom Thompson. “Biofuel Options for Marine Applications: Technoeconomic and Life-Cycle Analyses.” Environmental Science & Technology 55, no. 11 (June 1, 2021): 7561–70.

Xie, Xiaomin, Michael Wang, and Jeongwoo Han. “Assessment of Fuel-Cycle Energy Use and Greenhouse Gas Emissions for Fischer−Tropsch Diesel from Coal and Cellulosic Biomass.” Environmental Science & Technology 45, no. 7 (April 1, 2011): 3047–53.

Xu, Hui, Longwen Ou, Yuan Li, Troy R. Hawkins, and Michael Wang. “Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Biodiesel and Renewable Diesel Production in the United States.” Environmental Science & Technology 56, no. 12 (June 21, 2022): 7512–21.

Issue Type
Problem Text