Fuel for thought

Germany calls for "sulphur-free" fuels

Published: Tuesday 30 November 1999

In a bid to cut down pollution and improve fuel consumption, Germany has urged the European Union (EU) to introduce sulphur-free diesel and petrol from 2007. Germany said measures agreed to by the EU in its 1998 "Auto-Oil" programme, which include reducing the sulphur content of vehicle fuels to 50 parts per million (ppm), did not go far enough.

It called for sulphur-free fuels, containing no more than 10 ppm, to be introduced from 2007 and for such fuels to be available from 2005. "The specified fuel sulphur content of 50 ppm means that the aim of reducing carbon dioxide emissions from vehicles cannot yet be met properly and cost-effectively while also complying with stringent limit values for pollutants," said a three-page paper presented to EU environment ministers and the European Commission by German state secretary for environment Rainer Baake.

The paper said a reduced sulphur content in diesel would increase the working life of catalytic converters, reduce fuel consumption and cut emissions of particulates. It said lower sulphur petrol would allow wider use of lean-burn petrol engines, reducing fuel consumption by as much as 15 per cent compared to conventional petrol engines.

EU governments, along with the automobile and oil industries, are now preparing the so-called "Auto-Oil II" programme, a follow-up to the project which led to the 1998 laws to cut pollution from motor vehicles.

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