Australia’s petrol is not as high quality as petrol in other OECD countries. Petrol parameters which most affect vehicle operability and emissions and which are out of step with European standards are sulphur (max 10ppm), minimum octane number (95 RON) and aromatic content (max 35 per cent). Harmonisation of fuel standards with international standards will enable the entry into Australia of vehicles with advanced fuel efficiency and emissions technologies. AADA supports the manufacturers’ preferred policy Option B in the draft regulation impact statement (RIS) on fuel quality standards.
Vehicle manufacturers consider that aligning fuel standards with the European (EN) standards (e.g. 95 RON, 10ppm sulphur, 35% aromatics for petrol) is necessary to enable a wider range of technologies to be offered and to ensure vehicles meet the in-service durability requirements of Euro 6 noxious emissions standards. However, Australian petrol refiners question whether this is necessary and that costs of upgrading refineries and costs of production may affect the continued viability of refineries in Australia.
The draft RIS canvasses policy options for updating Australia’s fuel standards:
- Option A – status quo
- Option B – harmonise fuel standards with European standards. Regular unleaded petrol (91 RON) would be phased out. Changes to broaden the scope of the diesel standard
- Option C – harmonise fuel standards with European standards with the exception that 91 RON petrol be retained but with a lower sulphur level of 10ppm. Changes to broaden the scope of the diesel standard
- Option F – revision to petrol standards to reduce sulphur to 10ppm, consistent with European standards.
The draft RIS includes a cost benefit analysis of each option assessed against three different implementation dates: 2022, 2025 and 2027.
- Australia should harmonise fuel standards with European standards to enable the introduction of vehicle technologies to meet the requirements of Euro 6 and deliver CO2 emission (fuel consumption) reductions.
- Option B is the manufacturers’ preferred option and is supported by AADA.
Consultation period for the draft RIS ends on 8 March 2018 and a revised draft RIS will inform the Government on what changes should be made to fuel standards. At the same time, the Government will also present a RIS for introduction of a CO2 standard and a separate RIS for the introduction of Euro 6 to the Ministerial Forum on Vehicle Emissions.