Call for Stronger National Fuel Standards


The Australian Automobile Association has today written to Standards Australia, asking it to urgently develop appropriate national standards for petrol and diesel, which specify their content and maximum levels of additives.


AAA’s Technical Director, David Lang, said the new standards needed to be developed in consultation with the Government, the petroleum industry, the automotive industry and consumer groups such as the Australian Automobile Association.


"The current standards are out of date, inappropriate and do not address the sort of substitution and dilution problems we are currently seeing," Mr. Lang said.


"It is essential any new national standards are backed by appropriate random testing by Government. This is the only way to ensure that domestically produced and imported fuel meets the specified standards. A least two state governments have already agreed to undertaken testing programs and we would urge other states and territories to follow suit.


"We would also strongly urge the Commonwealth to drop its proposal to impose excise on toluene because it will be costly, complicated and will not stop people diluting petrol and diesel (where heating oil, lighting and power kerosene have been used to dilute the product)," Mr. Lang said.


"If toluene is taxed, unscrupulous operators can simply shift to other untaxed or low-taxed products which occur in petrol such as benzene and xylene. Does the Government also plan to tax all those products? If so, taking the Governments tax ‘solution’ to its logical conclusion could also mean taxing water, since some water is present in most petrol!


"Unfortunately, the government seems to be more concerned about revenue loss rather than the impact which diluted fuel can have on motor vehicles.


"The simplest and most effective way to protect the interests of motorists and Commonwealth revenue is through strong standards, backed by random testing," Mr. Lang concluded.

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