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Fuels Analysis, Regulatory Specifications for

Petroleum and Liquid Fossil Fuels Analysis

  1. Peter A. Nick PE

Published Online: 15 SEP 2006

DOI: 10.1002/9780470027318.a1812

Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry

Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry

How to Cite

Nick, P. A. 2006. Fuels Analysis, Regulatory Specifications for. Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry. .

Author Information

  1. Process Systems Engineering, Yorba Linda, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 SEP 2006

This is not the most recent version of the article. View current version (15 SEP 2017)


This article provides a general survey of the chemical and physical analyses of light and mid-range hydrocarbon fuels needed to satisfy the environmental and safety requirements of the refining and transport industries. Since the inception of the oil and automobile industries, emissions from vehicles and from fuel refineries have taken a back seat to the performance factors of the fuels themselves. In the middle of the 1900s, new environmental requirements became a commercial consideration as governments, and to a lesser extent, industrial consortia, began to impose requirements on the fuels which had little or nothing to do with performance in the engine. This article will attempt to enumerate the most prevalent of these testing specifications and provide a modest amount of information about what they involve and why they exist. At the time the original draft of this work was written in 1999, the imposition of several new regulatory criteria in the United States had just been imposed on most of the fuels production companies. Few new regulations have been enacted in the last few years (1995+) prior to this article's printing, but there have been numerous serious proposals for such new legislation and several more geographical areas have come under existing and more stringent legislation. We have tried to assess where future regulations will lead and what specifications and tests might deal with these limits.

In general, we will not deal here with the engine performance specifications. These are detailed far more adequately elsewhere in the literature. This article will not provide a long treatise on the formulation of transportation fuel manufacturing processes, and neither will it delve deeply into the testing methodology. Enough of these three subjects will be presented to allow the reader to put the regulatory specifications and what they entail into perspective. The emphasis is slanted towards the specification of gasoline range fuels, primarily caused by the great predominance of these commodities, but we do try to cover the heavier transport fuels in detail as well. There is considerable overlap in several of the specifications, at least in terms of methodology, even if the specification document number perhaps differs from light to heavier fuels.

The various testing specifications are presented by a fairly succinct description and are categorized by test type and by species analysis requirements. An attached glossary will enable the reader to become acquainted with the jargon of emissions compliance and refinery technology, since these are both linked to intelligent discussion of fuels production and usage.