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Engine fuel specifications updated

Engine fuel specifications updated

Consumers should benefit when engine fuel specifications are updated later this year, says the Acting Minister of Energy and Resources, Hekia Parata.

"Most of the changes relate to technical aspects of the engine fuel specifications and will be of most interest to the fuel and motoring industries, although it is likely that one of the changes could deliver some small fuel price savings for consumers," Ms Parata says.

The updates to the regulations are being made to keep pace with new technologies and the fuel specifications of other countries, as well as to relax unnecessarily constraining requirements.

"The minimum required motor octane level (MON) of regular grade petrol will be lowered from 82 to 81. Most vehicles in New Zealand are designed for regular grade petrol so do not need fuel with the higher octane level," Ms Parata says.

"This reduction in the minimum octane level requirement will align our specification with Australia's and potentially lower the costs of sourcing this fuel by up to a cent per litre.

"I would expect to see this reflected in the price for regular fuel at the pumps."

It is important that vehicles are operated on the right grade of fuel. Premium grade will be available for those who need it. There will be no change to the regulated minimum research octane number (RON) that people are more familiar with, which is 91 for regular grade petrol.

It is envisaged that the reissued regulations will come into force no later than 1 December.


The following 15 changes to the Engine Fuel Specification Regulations 2008 will be made:

Changes to specifications of petrol and petrol/ethanol blends

* The minimum motor octane number (MON) for regular grade petrol will be reduced from 82 to 81. (There is no change to the minimum research octane number (RON) of 91 for regular grade petrol.)
* The minimum E70 requirement will be lowered from 22 percent to 20 percent in summer.
* The current vapour pressure waiver of 7kPa for petrol/ethanol blends will be extended to include all seasons (it currently does not apply in winter).

Changes to specifications of diesel and diesel biodiesel blends

* The supply of Wintermix diesel (diesel blended with kerosene) with a higher than usual sulphur content to non-retail customers in winter will be provided for, subject to specified conditions.
* A density waiver for diesel and biodiesel blends of up to five percent biodiesel will be introduced (a maximum density of 852 kg/m3 rather than 850 kg/m3 will be permitted).

Changes to specifications of ethanol

* The maximum amount of inorganic chloride permitted will be lowered from 32 milligrams per litre to 10 milligrams per litre.

Changes to specifications of biodiesel

* The maximum amount of phosphorous permitted will be lowered from 10 milligrams per kilogram to 4 milligrams per kilogram.

Changes to fuel test methods

* Inorganic chloride content in ethanol will be tested with ASTM D 7319 and ASTM D 7328.
* Cetane index for diesel will be tested with ASTM D 4737.
* The current density test method of ASTM D 1298 will be supplemented with ASTM D D4052.
* Phosphorous content in biodiesel will be tested with EN 14107.
* A test for polyunsaturated methyl ester content in biodiesel will be introduced (EN 15779).

Drafting changes to the regulations

* The definition of petrol and diesel will be amended to explicitly include all petrol and diesel like hydrocarbon fuels, not just those refined in the conventional manner from oil.
* The southern boundary of the Auckland region will be updated to reflect the boundaries of the new Auckland Council.
* The grace period for low volume fuel distribution sites has been set at six weeks after a change in season.

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