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Consumers to get cleaner diesel and petrol

Consumers to get cleaner diesel and petrol

The New Zealand Refining Company’s decision to upgrade the Marsden Point refinery to produce cleaner fuels was welcomed today by Associate Minister of Energy Harry Duynhoven.

“This change will allow the supply of higher quality petrol and diesel that is cleaner and more environmentally friendly to the New Zealand market, reducing the amount of polluting vehicle emissions and greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles," Mr Duynhoven said.” It will also enable the use of newer technology vehicles with cleaner-burning engines that require fuel produced to stringent specifications.”

Lowering diesel sulphur and petrol benzene levels are two of the key objectives in the new petrol and diesel specifications regulations agreed in 2002 and being phased in over the next two and a half years. From August 2004, maximum sulphur levels will be lowered to 500 parts per million (ppm) average and to 50 ppm by 2006. Longer term, sulphur levels will be lowered to 10 to 15 ppm by 2009 or 2010.

The New Zealand Refining Company’s investment will also allow for the reduction in petrol benzene levels to 1% by 2006. Mr Duynhoven said that this would limit the evaporative and exhaust emissions of benzene, a known carcinogen.

"Lowering diesel sulphur levels may bring forward maintenance requirements in some vehicles, especially older Japanese-imported light-duty vehicles," Mr Duynhoven said. “The government intends to co-ordinate an information campaign in advance of the introduction of lower-sulphur diesel to help make consumers aware of any new maintenance requirements that may be necessary. This campaign is expected to begin late 2003 or early 2004."

The decision to amend the fuel quality regulations followed a comprehensive review that began in 2001. The Ministry of Economic Development led the review, with the assistance of the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Ministry for the Environment, Ministry of Health, and Ministry of Transport.

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