Petrol Quality in Australia is at least 13 years behind Europe!

Australia the third world country

Australia has continued it’s backward slide by delaying the move to higher quality petrol until at least 2027. The current levels of sulphur in petrol in Australia was banned in 2009 in Europe.

  • 91 RON regular unleaded – 150ppm (unchanged since 1/1/2005)
  • 95 RON premium unleaded – 50ppm (unchanged since 1/1/2008)
  • 98 RON premium unleaded – 50ppm (unchanged since 1/1/2008)

The petroleum industry claimed that it needed eight years to upgrade the four remaining refineries in Australia at a cost of $979 million or it would have to shut them down. The refineries are located;

  • Brisbane – Caltex
  • Geelong – Viva/Shell
  • Melbourne – Mobile
  • Perth – BP

The delay in moving to low sulphur petrol means increased costs in buying vehicles in Australia as engines need re-calibration and some variants of engine are not available at all due to the costs which run into millions of dollars.

Is Australia really a third world country?

With regards to petrol quality the answer is a resounding yes.

Out of the 36 countries in the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) Australia has the worst petrol quality.

Out of 100 countries Australia at the start of 2018 was ranked number 73 after falling three places from the previous year. A number of other countries have since transitioned to lower sulphur so Australia is likely down between 80 and 90 currently.

Maximum Gasoline Sulfur Limits (2018)
More countries are changing over to 50ppm or lower by 2020 so this will leave Australia near the bottom of the top 100. It is likely within a few years that Australia will out of the top 100 list.
Australia is one of the few countries that do not have petrol that matches emission standards!

Lagging behind Europe

Europe adopted new fuel standards way and as usual Australia lagged so far behind, it is likely that with a staged introduction planned in 2027 for the new fuels that we will not be totally on 10ppm fuel until sometime in the 2030’s especially if we allow the fuel companies who rake in huge profits to dictate the change. In fact Europe already has Euro 6.2 and Australia is till thinking about Euro 6 for 2027 onwards.

  • Euro 2 | Europe 1996 | Australia 2003-2004* (8 years behind)
  • Euro 3 | Europe 1996 | Australia 2005-2006* (10 years behind)
  • Euro 4 | Europe 2000 | Australia 2008-2010* (10 years behind)
  • Euro 5 | Europe 2009 | Australia 2013-2016* (7 years behind)
  • Euro 6 | Europe 2014 | Australia 2027+ (13+ years behind)

*European year applies to all vehicles whereas Australia applies the first year to new vehicle models and the second year to all vehicles sold.

Source | Emission Requirements for new petrol passenger cars in Australia and European Emission Standards.

Volkswagen pushing for higher fuel standards and emissions

Volkswagen Australia managing director, Michael Bartsch, has called for Australia’s fuel standards and emissions testing to be dragged into line with the latest European rules, lest we become a “dumping ground” for old engine technology.

Speaking at a briefing in Sydney this week, the executive said our current fuel standards put Australia at risk of becoming a “second-tier” market, and argued the transition to higher-quality, lower-sulphur fuel was as important as the switch from leaded to unleaded petrol.

“We’re becoming outsiders,” Bartsch (pictured below) told journalists. “It won’t be long before vehicles are going to have to be produced purely for these really poor sulphur content countries,” he said, speaking of Australia’s fuel standards.

At the moment, local regulations allow 50 parts per million (ppm) of sulphur in premium unleaded, and 150ppm in regular unleaded petrol. European rules allow a maximum of 10ppm. We’re ranked 70th in the world for fuel quality, largely due to this sulphur content.

Bartsch didn’t pull any punches when addressing this point of view, suggesting the AAA and fuel companies are misleading the public on the issue.

“The fuel companies are pulling wool over people’s eyes, the AAA is pulling wool over people’s eyes as to what the real-world environment is,” he told assembled press.

“We’ll start seeing a lot of options drop off in terms of powertrains and engines that we can get,” he later argued, prompted about the timeline laid out by the AAA.

“What you’ll start seeing is that we’ll start getting lower common denominator products and… we’ll start paying more for the cars, because they’ll start doing special testing and special engine runs, and keeping old model lines alive, and putting old engines down the production line to keep a few markets going,” Bartsch explained.

“How long do you think that’s sustainable for a country that only sells a million cars a year. It’s not sustainable.”

Fuel standards are in the firing line

Volkswagen has said the following which they encouraged their dealers to share with their local member of parliament.

The advent of Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP) this year in Europe will, in combination with Australia’s lack of progress in moving toward the Euro 6 emissions regime, impact adversely on car buyers.

As of next year, Australians will no longer be able to access many of the world’s best practice and most efficient cars.

Cars that are fitted with a petrol particulate filter cannot run on Australia’s fuel which has an exceedingly high sulphur content – some 50 parts per million [PULP] as opposed to the European standard of less than 10, the letter continues.

The new Volkswagen 1.4 litre petrol engine cannot be introduced to Australia as it has a petrol particulate filter that requires fuel of 10ppm or lower.

Petrol Particulate Filter

Petrol engined cars with petrol particulate filters required for new European emission controls will not be able to fitted to Australian delivered models because of our third world fuel quality standards.

Whilst they can run in the short term on 50ppm 95 and 98 RON fuel they will be destroyed after one tank of 150ppm 91 RON.

Porsche has joined other Volkswagen Group cars by not bringing petrol particulate filters to Australia because of the poor quality of fuel.

“The majority of petrol sold in Australia is imported, so there is no reason why European standard petrol could not be imported at a negligible costs at the bowser. Surely better fuel quality is in everyone’s interest.”

Volkswagen Group spokesman, Paul Pottinger

Why does it matter?

The most popular fuel in Australia is 91 RON which has 150ppm sulphur which is amongst the dirtiest fuel in the world, this creates sulphur dioxide which creates breathing problems and is the cause of acid rain. High levels of sulphur also increase wear on the engine and don’t burn as efficiently as low sulphur fuels meaning you get less mileage from each tank of fuel costing you more.

Another issue is that this limits the choice of vehicles on the market as some engines are not suitable or require extensive work which lowers their performance.

Further Reading

Stricter Fuel Standards set to bring cleaner cars to Aussie roads

Australia’s Petrol is one of the dirtiest in the world

Australia a dumping ground for old engines

Data cabling in Australia is the most regulated in the World | DIY ILLEGAL!

Australia not content with having the most cumbersome laws for pretty much everything has taken it further and now made it illegal for registered cablers to make patch leads. The draconian laws apply to both homes and business and Australia is the only country in the world where data cabling in the home is illegal unless performed by a registered cabler. Even running a premade telephone cord between rooms using any method of fixing and even under a rug is illegal in Australia and punishable .

DRAFT AUSTRALIAN STANDARD DR AS/CA S008:2019
Requirements for customer cabling products

DRAFT AUSTRALIAN STANDARD DR AS/CA S009:2019
Installation requirements for customer cabling (Wiring rules)

Imagine using premade data cables and install a patch panel that has RJ45 ports on each side so you can plug all the premade cables in, you would think this would be legal but not in Australia if it is attached to or runs though any part of the building structure. Anything relating to data work is illegal for a homeowner and the new standards are only expanding what you can’t do.

There is more usage of fibre and a logical path forward would be to relax the regulations as there is no risk of interference, injury or death in installing a fibre optic cable but we now have additional regulations around them.

I cannot find anywhere in the world where data cabling is illegal for the homeowner, there are regulations for commercial data cabling in many countries but many still allow some DIY. In Australia it is illegal to perform any data cabling including making patch leads or running a CAT 6 cable between rooms unless you are a licensed cabler.

5.9.2 Connecting cords, patch cords and extension leads
A CABLING PROVIDER shall not make an equipment connecting CORD, PATCH CORD, extension lead or the like using component parts, whether or not such parts meet the requirements of AS/CA S008.
Note: CORDS are required to meet the requirements of AS/CA S008.
Manufacturers are directed to the regulatory obligations for compliance labelling of CORDS.

To summarise this new rule, a registered cabler is no longer able to make a patch lead of any type even when a patch cable may not be readily available. Customer would like a 3.7m telephone patch lead with RJ45 on one and RJ12 on the other, they’ll just have to order a 5m online and wait.

There are many products installed in Australia that require custom patch leads to be made for example where the patch leads are no longer made or take too long to obtain but no matter what the reason we trust a cabler to install all the data cabling throughout the building but there is no trust in making a simple patch lead?

This would apply to any devices connected to a network either wired or wirelessly. Arduino and Raspberry Pi owners connecting to other modules using I2C cables have to have cables manufactured that meet the AS/CA S008 standard and cannot make their own cable.

CCTV installers who run cable between the Network Video Recorder (NVR) and terminate each end with a RJ45 plug to connect the NVR direct to the camera will also be illegal and the only way to legally do this would be to create a pigtail so RJ45 on the camera end and fit a patch panel at the NVR end adding extra cost and complexity to installs which are passed on to consumers.

However only a registered data cabler can replace a CCTV camera installed in this manner and the same applies to a WiFi access point installed on a ceiling, if the cable is terminated to a plug it is illegal for anyone who is not a registered cabler to change the WiFi access point or camera and even to unplug or plug it in.

The rules, laws and regulations in Australia for many industries are only there to protect the industry, they have nothing to do with safety but everything to do with increasing costs and protecting certain jobs.

Logically there would be guidelines for home wiring that give homeowners advice, guidance and examples on how to run cabling in a safe manner and legalise data cabling by the homeowner. Education is the key not draconian laws and regulations that make no sense and that are ignored by many.

Many homeowners are going to do their own data cabling work regardless of the laws but at the moment they cannot get information on how to run the cable in a safe manner because to access the standards that give this information costs hundreds of dollars.

If the NBN can’t enforce their data cablers to install as per the existing rules and the ACMA won’t enforce the rules, why even have them?