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Car Industry Supports ARC Low-Sulphur Diesel Call

Car Industry Supports ARC In Calling For Low-Sulphur Diesel

The Motor Industry Association, which represents New Zealand’s new vehicle distributors, has joined in support of the Auckland Regional Council in the debate over cleaner low-sulphur diesel for Auckland.

‘We are totally in support of the ARC on this very important issue’, said MIA Chief Executive Officer Perry Kerr. ‘Whilst we applaud the support that BP and Caltex have given to the proposal we are frankly incredulous at the fact that Shell and Mobil are preventing an oil industry consensus on an issue in which the industry should be taking leadership’.

Because the four major oil companies share shipping and storage facilities in Auckland, a switch to the new fuel is difficult without industry agreement.

Low sulphur diesel reduces smoky emissions, and new technology diesel engines that are now becoming available in Europe have sophisticated emission systems which would be clogged by the diesel fuel that is currently sold in New Zealand. Typical concentrations of sulphur in New Zealand diesel fuel are in the area of 2000-2200 parts per million. The current maximum allowed in Europe is 350ppm, to be reduced to 50ppm in 2005.

‘With Auckland having the highest concentration of population in the country, the ARC has correctly identified a significant contributor to air pollution in the region,’ said Mr. Kerr, ‘however the quality of diesel fuel is a national scandal, and it is up to the oil industry to fix it. Unless something is done, vehicle importers will be unable to take advantage of the latest generation of fuel-efficient, low polluting diesel powered vehicles, not only cars but heavy trucks as well, because they will not run on local fuel without expensive extra servicing. In our view, the oil industry should take urgent steps to introduce low-sulphur diesel for use in road vehicles, with the existing high-sulphur product diverted for marine, rail and farm use until it is phased out.’

Ends

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