Testing Not Excise the Solution to Petrol Dilution


The Australian Automobile Association has called on the Federal Government to rule out applying an excise to the solvent toluene, which is being used to dilute petrol.


AAA Technical Director, David Lang, said that suggestions by Assistant Treasurer, Senator Rod Kemp, that an excise may be imposed amounted to an attempt to raise extra revenue. He said it would do nothing to protect motorists from tainted fuel.


"The problem with imposing an excise on toluene is that the handful of unscrupulous people involved in petrol dilution would only move to another solvent substitute and the problem would continue," Mr. Lang said.


"Use of solvents can be damaging to vehicle engines and potentially dangerous. It can melt rubber seals in the fuel system increasing the risk of fire in an accident, and it can reduce performance.


"The solution to the problem is regular monitoring of fuel quality at service stations. It is not a difficult process. The NSW Department of Fair Trading was able to uncover the current tainting racket by testing samples from service stations in Sydney.


"The issue of tainted fuel is not new. AAA raised concerns with the Customs officials last year and it is one of the key issues that will be discussed at an international conference in Melbourne later this month.


"The conference, Moving Australia – Challenges for the Petroleum and Automotive Industries, is being jointly sponsored by AAA, the Australian Institute of Petroleum and the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries. It will be held at the Hotel Sofitel in Melbourne on 27 and 28 March.


"I would strongly urge government, industry regulators and representatives from the transport industry and other users of petroleum products to attend. Key speakers include state and federal government and departmental representatives and international speakers such as Vince Fazio, Director of Partnership for a New Generation Vehicle, Ford Motor Company, USA and Dr John Price, Director, European Petroleum Industry Association," Mr. Lang said.

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