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SA’s dirty fuel is costing motorists dearly

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South Africa is falling further

Johannesburg:

South Africa is falling further behind the world in fuel quality, and it’s hitting SA motorists where it hurts most: their pockets and their health.

July 2017 was the planned introduction date for a Clean Fuels policy which would have resulted in you breathing cleaner air and paying less at the fuel pumps, but the deadline has come and gone while the government dithers.

The idea was to upgrade South Africa’s oil refineries from producing so-called Euro level 2 fuels to Euro 5, the high-quality grades sold in Europe and other first-world markets.

Since it’s an expensive job to upgrade refineries to produce cleaner fuel, the local oil industry hasn’t done it voluntarily which is why in the 2013/2014 budget the then Minister of Finance announced an R40-billion allocation for it. But the plan seems to have been put on the back burner with the government clearly deciding there are better ways to spend (loot?) the money.

There’s no question that introducing Euro 5 fuel is a priority for any government concerned about the health of its populace. For starters, the fuel is cleaner. It has lower levels of benzene and sulfur than current fuel and emits less CO2 and other hazardous gasses that are harmful to human health and the environment.

15 years behind

Secondly, clean fuels would avoid the need to adopt many modern new vehicles to our lower fuel quality. Currently, adjustments are required to engine management systems, drive trains, and exhaust systems.

Also, having to build export vehicles for high technology markets as well as vehicles for our low technology market is inefficient and negatively impacts our vehicle manufacturing industry’s global competitiveness.

SA’s Fuels policy

It leaves South Africa about 15 years behind the rest of the world in terms of fuel standards and quality. But the government seems more interested in milking the motorist cash-cow than worrying about our health.

Back in 2010 government introduced a CO2 tax – the so-called ‘green tax’ – where any car emitting more than 120g of carbon dioxide per kilometer was taxed at R75 per gram.

It was ostensibly a plan to reduce air pollution by incentivizing the production of cleaner-burning cars, but motor companies are simply passing on the CO2 tax cost to their customers. The great majority of vehicles sold in SA are over the 120g limit, and the tax raised car prices by about two percent on average.

Tipping point

This means that to make cars run any cleaner requires cleaner fuels. According to Naamsa (National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of SA), we’re now reaching a tipping point. We’ll either be denied access to the latest low-emission cars or they’ll need expensive reverse engineering. In the end, it hits you and me in our pockets, and in our lungs.

Introducing clean fuels would reduce the CO2 outputs (and prices) of cars, but earn less tax for the government. You do the math.

Read More:

SA’s Dirty Fuel: Click Here

Fuel Price for May 2018: Click Here

Failing Petrol Price: Click Here

Why are South African’s paying so much for petrol?: Click Here

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