China: Fuels: Diesel and Gasoline

China: Fuels: Diesel and Gasoline


As of January 2017, on-road diesel and gasoline are limited to a maximum of 10 ppm sulfur nationwide. Nationwide availability of 50 ppm sulfur off-road diesel is required in July 2017 and 10 ppm in January 2018.

Standard type
Fuel quality

Current Standard

Current nationwide standards:

  • China V diesel (GB 19147-2013) and gasoline (GB 17930-2013)
  • Off-road diesel (“general diesel”): 50ppm available nationwide by 7 Jul 2017; 10ppm available nationwide by 1 Jan 2018.

Current sub-national standards:

Varies; see below for detailed information

All gasoline and diesel sold for on-road motor vehicles; diesel sold for construction and off-road vehicles is subject to a different standard (see below).


China Fuels


Fuel quality standards in China are issued by the Standardization Administration of China (SAC) under the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ). The Technical Committee under SAC in charge of drafting fuel quality standards is TC280. Individual nationwide standards are issued for gasoline, motor diesel (for on-road vehicles), and general diesel (permitted for use in off-road equipment).

Cities and regions in China may develop and implement their own fuel quality standards without requiring national-level approval, although any price changes must be approved by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC). Practically, large cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, cities around the Pearl River Delta, (e.g. Guangzhou), and others, implement their own, more stringent fuel quality standards after negotiating a dedicated fuel supply with China’s major state-owned oil companies Sinopec and PetroChina. A September 2013 State Council directive calls on eleven Eastern provinces the three key regions Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei, Yangtze River Delta, and Pearl River Delta to supply 10ppm sulfur fuels by 1 Jan 2016.

Chinese fuel quality standards generally follow European precedent, with some exceptions.

The following table outlines major steps China has taken to improve fuel quality for use in motor vehicles. The timeline for the China V gasoline and diesel standards was announced by China’s State Council in February 2013. In June 2013, the China V diesel technical standard was issued. In December 2013, the China V gasoline technical standard was issued. On 28 Apr 2015, the State Council announced an accelerated timeline for nationwide availability of China V motor gasoline and diesel from 1 Jan 2018 to 1 Jan 2017.

Major steps in China’s nationwide diesel fuel quality improvement

Stage Standard Maximum Sulfur
Level (ppm)
Implementation Date
China I GB 252-2000 2000 1 Jan 2002
China II GB/T 19147-2003 500 (voluntary) 1 Oct 2003
China III GB 19147-2009 350 phase-in 1 Jan 2010 – 1 Jul 2011
China IV GB 19147-2013 50 phase-in 7 Feb 2013 – 31 Dec 2014
China V GB 19147-2013 10 1 Jan 2017 (1 Jan 2016 for eleven Eastern provinces including three key regions)

Major steps in China’s nationwide gasoline fuel quality improvement

Stage Standard Maximum Sulfur
Level (ppm)
Implementation Date
China I GB 17930-1999 lead-free
China II GB 17930-2004 500 6 Dec 2006
China III GB 17930-2006 150 31 Dec 2009
China IV GB 17930-2011 50 31 Dec 2013
China V GB 17930-2013 10 1 Jan 2017 (1 Jan 2016 for eleven Eastern provinces including three key regions)

Leaded gasoline in China has been banned since before the introduction of the China I (Euro 1) vehicle tailpipe emission standards in 2000. China’s Air Pollution Prevention and Control Law bans the production, import, and sale of leaded fuels. The law authorizes the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) to enforce the ban.

The following table summarizes some key sub-national progress in implementing even more stringent fuel quality standards than those in force nationwide. In 2012, Beijing became the first city in mainland China (not including Hong Kong) to implement 10 ppm S gasoline and diesel fuel. In mid-2013, Shanghai announced it would update to 10ppm fuels by the end of the year. In June 2014, Guangdong Province announced its timeline for introduction of 10ppm fuels. Guangdong also announced a maximum RVP limit of 60 kPa – as opposed to the national limit of 65 kPa – in order to further control evaporative emissions.


Stage Beijing Shanghai Guangdong
Standard Implementation Date Standard Implementation Date Standard Implementation Date
China III (350 ppm S diesel, 150 ppm S gasoline) DB11/238-2004 (gasoline)
DB11/239-2004 (diesel)
1 Jul 2005 DB44/345-2006 (gasoline)
DB44/346-2006 (diesel)
1 Sep 2006
China IV (50 ppm) DB11/238-2007 (gasoline)
DB11/239-2007 (diesel)
1 Jan 2008 DB31/427-2009 (gasoline)
DB31/428-2009 (diesel)
1 Oct 2009 DB44/694-2009 (gasoline)
DB44/695-2009 (diesel)
1 Jun 2010
China V (10 ppm) DB11/238-2012 (gasoline)
DB11/239-2012 (diesel)
1 Aug 2012 DB31/427-2013 (gasoline)
DB31/428-2013 (diesel)
1 Dec 2013 粤府函〔2014〕107号 gasoline: phase-in 1 Jul 2014 – 1 Oct 2014
diesel: phase-in 1 Apr 2015 – 1 Jul 2015

Off-road diesel

Sulfur levels in diesel used for construction and off-road applications (known in China as “general diesel”) are given in national standards GB 252-2000 and GB 252-2011. Maximum fuel sulfur level is 2,000 ppm until 30 June 2013, and 350 ppm beginning 1 Jul 2013. The nationwide maximum sulfur level for general diesel will be lowered to 50ppm by 7 Jul 2017 and 10ppm by 1 Jan 2018.


According to Part 7 of China’s petroleum refining industry standard SH 0164-92, “Rules for Storage, Transport, and Delivery Acceptance of Petroleum Products,” regulations to guarantee petroleum product quality during transport and delivery acceptance stipulate:

  • Before fuels are sold to retail stations, fuel sellers are responsible for ensuring they comply with standards;
  • The party delivering petroleum tests the product against applicable standards and certifies product quality;
  • The buyer has the right to take random samples to verify product quality;
  • Sinopec’s Research Institute of Petroleum Processing (RIPP) will act as the arbiter when disputes regarding product quality arise between fuel buyers and sellers;
  • Quality of fuel sold at retail stations is supervised and managed by local Industry and the Commerce Bureau or the Quality Technology Supervision Bureau;
  • City governments can take random samples at retail stations;
  • The major fuel properties to be tested should include:
Gasoline: sulfur, benzene, manganese, existent gum, aromatics, olefins, vapor pressure;
Diesel: sulfur, flash point, distillation range, acidity, etc.;
  • Different cities, according to actual conditions, perform different testing, then report the results on the bureau website.

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