The National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa) has warned that government is putting the brake on the introduction of cleaner fuel.
The result is that some of the more advanced vehicles, which can easily run on the fuel sold in most other countries, cannot be run here because they would become clogged up. There are also greater health risks when vehicles running on dirtier fuel pump out dirtier emissions.
“In the 2013/2014 budget, the then Minister of Finance announced an allocation of R40 billion for the upgrading of SA oil refineries to produce Euro V (advanced, clean) fuels in South Africa by 2017,” said Naamsa in a statement.
“The Department of Energy subsequently decided to re-evaluate the Clean Fuels initiative, and there has been little progress since then. Currently, South Africa is about 15 years behind the rest of the world in terms of fuel standards and quality.”
Naamsa warned that the introduction of clean fuels in South Africa is essential from an environmental and urban air quality and human health perspective. It is also essential to enable manufacturers to supply the market with high technology, highly fuel-efficient, and low-emission new motor vehicles with the following important benefits:
• Progressive reduction in CO2 emissions by motor vehicles;
• Progressive reduction in emissions of hazardous gasses harmful to human health and the
environment due to high levels of benzene and sulphur in current fuel;
• Greater efficiencies in vehicle manufacturing plants due to reduced complexities (uniform
technologies built into local and export vehicles);
• Improved efficiencies for domestic vehicle manufacturers – because re-engineering of vehicles to
comply with lower quality fuel will no longer be required;
• Gradual reduction in aggregate fuel and oil imports, with associated benefits for the country’s balance of payments.
“With the widespread introduction of new technology, including new 4-way catalytic converter equipped vehicles in Europe, during 2018 we will now find that for the first time since the 1996 introduction of unleaded petrol in South Africa – that many regular petrol engine motor cars as available to the general public in Europe will not be able to be marketed in South Africa,” said Stuart Rayner, chairman of the NAAMSA Fuel & Emissions Working Group
“This will effectively deny the motoring public access to the latest low-emission vehicle technology”.
Naamsa argued that it is illogical that vehicle manufacturers and importers should continue to be penalised for not introducing latest engine technology vehicles when many such vehicles will not be able to operate on South African fuel, and those models that are introduced may require expensive reverse-engineering to use older less efficient engines.
“Product restrictions are already being applied to local companies by their foreign principals, particularly due to the lack of availability of clean fuels – low sulphur petrol,” concluded Naamsa.
“This calls into question the rationale for continued application of CO2 taxes on new motor vehicles in South Africa and reinforces the urgent need for the introduction of clean fuels in South Africa.”