The Road Ahead : February March 2008
"Tests show it provides similar performance, a negligible increase in fuel consumption and similar or slightly reduced exhaust emissions compared with normal ULP." Remote area fuel Petrol sniffing has become a significant health and social issue in some areas and, as a result, some remote communities in central and nor thern Australia have banned the sale and trade of normal petrol to tr y to curb the problem. Many motorists travelling into remote areas opt for diesel power and are not affected by these bans. Those remote region ramblers reliant on petrol though, should be aware of a relatively new fuel known as OPAL. It may be found under various fuel company brands in selected communities, including major centres such as Alice Springs and Tennant Creek. Developed by BP, this unleaded petrol has low aromatic hydrocarbon proper ties, making it unsatisfactor y for sniffing, as it won't produce the same effect. torquing point WITH JOHN EWING Production and transpor t costs for OPAL are higher than normal fuel and the previous Federal Government had provided $42.7 million over 5 years for its rollout into communities. We have summarised here information supplied by the Federal Government to help motorists. OPAL has a different smell and appearance to normal unleaded petrol (ULP), though independent toxicology testing show it to be the least toxic fuel in terms of chronic exposure. OPAL exceeds all national standards for regular ULP (91 RON) and can be used in all regular ULP automotive applications, including two and four-stroke engines. It can be used in outboards too but isn't suitable for aviation use. Tests show it provides similar per formance, a negligible increase in fuel consumption and similar or slightly reduced exhaust emissions compared with normal ULP. It can be safely mixed with regular ULP. However, it shouldn't be used in pre-1986 vehicles, or any vehicles/engines requiring premium unleaded, and is not compatible with valve seat protection additives. A sur vey per formed by RACQ's sister club in South Australia, RAA, suggests that there is no substance to anecdotal claims linking failure of fuel system rubber components to the use of OPAL fuel. Vehicles using OPAL appear to be no more susceptible to such problems than those not using it. In the small number of vehicles located with a problem, normal wear and tear for age was found to be the cause, rather than the specific fuel used. If you'd like some technical advice, visit racq.com.au or call RACQ's Technical Advisor y Ser vice on 3666 9148 or 1800 623 456 (members in countr y areas).
December January 2008
April May 2008