Preprint Review Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Modelling Variation in Petroleum Products’ Refining Footprints

Version 1 : Received: 26 September 2020 / Approved: 27 September 2020 / Online: 27 September 2020 (08:32:10 CEST)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Johnson, E.; Vadenbo, C. Modelling Variation in Petroleum Products’ Refining Footprints. Sustainability 2020, 12, 9316. Johnson, E.; Vadenbo, C. Modelling Variation in Petroleum Products’ Refining Footprints. Sustainability 2020, 12, 9316.


Energy-related greenhouse gas emissions dominate the carbon footprints of most product systems, and petroleum is one of the main types of energy sources. This is consumed as a variety of refined products – most notably diesel, petrol (gasoline) and jet fuel (kerosene). Refined product carbon footprints are of great importance to regulators, policymakers and environmental decision-makers. For instance, they are at the heart of legislation such as the European Union’s Renewable Energy Directive or the United States’ Renewable Fuels Standard. This study identified 14 datasets that report footprints for the same system, European petroleum refining. For the main refined products – diesel, petrol and jet fuel – footprints vary by at least a factor of three. For minor products, the variation is even greater. Five different organs of the European Commission have estimated refining footprints: for main products these are relatively harmonic; for minor products much less so. The footprint variation is due mainly to differing approaches to refinery modelling, especially regarding the rationale and methods applied to assign shares of the total burden from the petroleum refinery operation to the individual products. Given the economic/social importance of refined products, a better harmony of their footprints would be valuable to their users.


petroleum refining carbon footprints; refining carbon footprints; refined product carbon footprints


Environmental and Earth Sciences, Atmospheric Science and Meteorology

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