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NZ dirty diesel precludes cleanest diesel engines

Press Release –for immediate distribution

2 July 2003

NZ’s dirty diesel fuel continues to preclude availability of the world’s cleanest diesel engines

A recent press release by PSA Peugeot Citroën has highlighted just how far New Zealand is behind the rest of the developed world in the quality of our diesel fuel.

PSA has sold over half a million cars equipped with particulate-filter turbo diesel engines since the new technology was introduced in May 2000. Emissions from these engines are almost zero, as the microscopic carbon particles emitted by the diesel engine combustion process are effectively trapped.

Regrettably, the engines are unable to be sold in New Zealand, as the third-world quality of our high-sulphur diesel fuel would compromise the service life of the filter system.

Although improvements are under way to improve the quality of New Zealand’s fuel, the action has been late in coming, and at this stage a requirement for sulphur-free fuels is not part of the initial plan. Ministry for Economic Development officials have indicated that they would review the regulations commencing mid 2005 to set in place requirements for sulphur-free fuels (less than 10 parts per million) to be supplied by 2008 or 2009.

The Motor Industry Association has asked the five oil companies to support bringing this review forward to this year in order to set in place sulphur-free fuels from 2006 (Marsden Point has the capability to achieve this). Unfortunately some of the oil companies are reluctant to support this initiative instead wanting to continue to source dirty fuels from outdated overseas refineries.

“When we have new car manufacturers eager to bring the benefits of environmentally-friendly diesel engines to New Zealand, it’s exceedingly frustrating that we are having to wait so long for the quality of local fuel to catch up, “ said Perry Kerr, CEO of the Motor Industry Association.

“Irrespective of the supply sources, our officials should be demanding the best quality fuels in order that we can benefit from modern engine technology. We cannot allow our fuel regulations to continue falling behind international standards.”


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