Department of the Environment and Water Resources, 2007
Legislation annual reports 2006–07 (continued)
Operation of the Fuel Quality Standards Act 2000
This annual report is prepared in accordance with section 71 of the Fuel Quality Standards Act 2000. It covers the operation of the Act from 1 July 2006 to 30 June 2007.
The purpose of the Act is to regulate the quality of fuel in Australia in order to:
- reduce the level of pollutants and emissions arising from the use of fuel that may cause environmental and health problems
- facilitate the adoption of better engine technology and emission control technology and allow for more effective operation of engines
- ensure that appropriate information about fuel is provided when the fuel is supplied.
The Fuel Quality Standards Regulations 2001 cover the regulation of fuel and fuel additives, the operations of the Fuel Standards Consultative Committee, the publication of notices relating to entries in the Register of Prohibited Fuel Additives, enforcement, and record keeping and reporting obligations.
Fuel Standard Determinations set specific fuel quality standards for petrol, automotive diesel, biodiesel and autogas (liquefied petroleum gas). The determinations specify standards for a range of parameters which address both environmental and operability performance.
The standards for petrol and diesel have been progressively tightened since they were first introduced in 2002 with the regulated levels of sulfur in petrol to be reduced further in 2008 and diesel in 2009. There were no changes to any of the standards during the year.
In response to a request by the Australian Institute of Petroleum for a degree of flexibility in setting olefin specifications, the olefin standard in the Fuel Standard (Petrol) Determination 2001 was reviewed this year. The minister considered all the issues and, in consultation with the Fuel Standards Consultative Committee, decided that there was insufficient justification to relax the standard, particularly in light of the need for Australia to keep pace with international best practice.
The department is in the process of finalising consideration of management options for diesohol. Diesohol is defined in the Fuel Quality Standards Regulations 2001 as a blend primarily comprising diesel and an alcohol. Also known as e-diesel, m-diesel and oxy-diesel, the fuel is used in specially modified compression ignition engines. Diesohol is not currently subject to any formal or accepted industry quality standards, either in Australia or internationally.
The department released a paper for public comment in July 2005 stating the Australian Government's position on a fuel standard for ethanol blended with petrol at 5 per cent (E5) or 10 per cent (E10). The government is in favour of setting a standard for ethanol blend fuel to ensure that the environmental and vehicle operability objectives of the Act are met, and to assist in building consumer confidence by ensuring high quality ethanol blend fuel is available. There was no public opposition to the introduction of a standard. A draft standard was circulated to stakeholders for final comment in May 2007. It is proposed the standard will be harmonised with the American standard (ASTM D4806).
Testing the operation of Australian vehicles on ethanol blend fuels
In March 2007 the Australian Government released the results of expert testing of vehicles using ethanol blend fuels. The testing was carried out in response to the Biofuels Taskforce report to the Prime Minister in 2005. The testing, conducted by Orbital Australia, aimed to validate information available to Australian consumers about the suitability of ethanol blend fuel for cars.
Using the most recent motor vehicle census (March 2006) and information from the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), the Orbital study estimated that about 7.6 million (60 per cent) of petrol vehicles in Australia are suitable for use with E10. The FCAI confirmed that all new Australian cars are suitable for E10 fuel and that the vast majority of new imported car models sold in Australia today are also compatible with E5 or E10 ethanol blend fuels. Information about the suitability of many vehicles for use with ethanol blend fuel is available from the FCAI, along with manufacturer contact details at www.fcai.com.au/ethanol .
On the basis of the Orbital study, the government continues to recommend that consumers check the FCAI list for information on ethanol use in their vehicle. Motorists should also consult vehicle manufacturers for specific information about their vehicle's suitability if they have questions. The government is encouraging manufacturers and the FCAI to work with fuel suppliers and retailers to provide information to consumers wherever these fuels are sold.
The government capped the level of ethanol that can be added to petrol at 10 per cent (E10) in July 2003. That cap will remain, as will the requirement to label ethanol blends above 1 per cent. The Orbital tests have established that it would not be appropriate to allow 5 per cent ethanol (E5) to be sold unlabelled.
Health impacts of using ethanol blend fuels
A $3.9 million study by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and Orbital Australia is under way and scheduled to be completed in early 2008. The results will be used in conjunction with other studies, such as the vehicle compatibility study, to inform future ethanol policy decisions. Previous emissions studies have focused on cold climates and do not apply to Australian conditions. Stakeholders were consulted on the methodology for the study and the project steering committee assessed the comments provided for incorporation into the study
Setting standards for biodiesel blends
The setting of standards for biodiesel blends forms part of the government's response to the 2005 Biofuels Taskforce report. Standards already exist under the Act for 100 per cent biodiesel (B100) and for petroleum diesel, but not for blends of the two. Blends have proliferated on the Australian market and presently include such variations as B5, B20 and B49. This year the department continued consultation to develop a government position on setting standards for biodiesel blends. The department released a discussion paper in December-2006 on standardising diesel—biodiesel blends and, in light of comments from stakeholders, is developing a whole-of-government position paper.
Biodiesel demonstration trial
In response to the report of the Biofuels Taskforce the Prime Minister announced that a biodiesel demonstration trial (of 5 per cent biodiesel blended with 95 per cent diesel) would be undertaken in Kakadu National Park.
Due to extreme flooding, the demonstration trial was unable to go ahead and was relocated to Booderee National Park. This site has easier access and more tourists visit in peak season. The two-year demonstration trial in Booderee is expected to commence in July 2007.
The statutory review of the Fuel Quality Standards Act 2000 was completed in April 2005. In 2006—07 proposals were developed to implement the review's recommendations and to address a number of issues that had arisen, independent of the review, through the day-to-day operation of the Act. A draft Bill is scheduled to be introduced into parliament during the spring sittings which begin in August 2007.
Fuel Standards Consultative Committee
Section 24 of the Act establishes a Fuel Standards Consultative Committee as a formal consultation mechanism. The committee is required to include one representative from each state and territory, and the Australian Government. It must also include at least one person representing fuel producers, one representing a non-government body with an interest in the protection of the environment and one representing the interests of consumers. The minister may also appoint other members to the committee, which in 2006—07 included representatives from the motor vehicle manufacturing industry, independent fuel importers and suppliers, the alternative and renewable fuels industry, and the trucking industry.
Table 1 lists members of the committee during 2006—07.
Under section 24A the minister must consult the committee before:
- granting an approval
- making a fuel quality standard
- making a fuel quality information standard
- deciding whether to enter a fuel additive on, or remove a fuel additive from, the Register of Prohibited Fuel Additives
- preparing guidelines for more stringent fuel standards.
Under section 13 of the Act, the committee also provides advice on applications to vary fuel standards including recommendations to the conditions to be applied. In 2006—07 the committee considered and made recommendations on 52 new applications under section 13 (see Table 2).
Ongoing monitoring tests fuel industry compliance with the fuel quality standards. Fuel samples are taken in all states and territories of all grades of fuel covered by the standards. The monitoring programme aims to take representative samples in each of the fuel markets around Australia as well as responding to complaints made by consumers about fuel.
The Australian Government runs a fuel sampling programme to monitor the quality of fuels sold in Australia. Fuels are sampled throughout the fuel supply chain, including at service station forecourts.
Photos: John Guilfoyle
Fuel sampling is undertaken at distribution terminals, depots, service stations and other outlets. Samples are tested for compliance with the standards at an independent laboratory accredited by the National Association of Testing Authorities, Australia. Testing methods are accredited to international standards.
Fuel quality inspectors directly employed by the department and by some state and territory agencies took a record number of samples during 2006—07. Inspectors took 2,321 petrol, diesel, biodiesel and autogas samples from approximately 750-sites around Australia. A total of 145 compliance incident reports were received. In comparison 1,069 samples were taken during 2005—06 from 530 sites, and 160 compliance incident reports were received.
Test results indicate a high level of compliance with the fuel standards. Where non-compliance with a standard is detected, further investigation is undertaken with a view to prosecution where an offence can reasonably be proven.
|Member||Representing||Start date||Finish date|
Australian Government Department of the Environment and Water Resources
|Paul Kesby||Acting chair
Australian Government Department of the Environment and Water Resources
|Nigel Routh||NSW Government||28/01/2002||15/04/2010|
|Geoff Latimer||Victorian Government||11/10/2004||15/04/2010|
|Kelvyn Steer||Tasmanian Government||17/07/2003||2/09/2006|
|Bob Hyde||Tasmanian Government||27/11/2006||27/11/2009|
|Kelvyn Steer||SA Government||9/10/2006||9/10/2009|
|Steven Saunderson||NT Government||22/05/2004||15/04/2010|
|David Quinlan||ACT Government||22/05/2001||21/06/2006|
|David Power||ACT Government||9/10/2006||9/10/2009|
|Fred Tromp||WA Government||10/09/2002||1/12/2006|
|John Sutton||WA Government||16/04/2007||15/04/2010|
|Scott McDowall||Queensland Government||22/05/2004||15/04/2010|
|Stephen Payne||Australian Government Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources||22/05/2004||1/12/2006|
|Marie Taylor||Australian Government Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources||16/04/2007||15/04/2010|
|Jon Real||Australian Government Department of Transport and Regional Services||16/04/2007||15/04/2010|
|David Bowman||Environment non-government organisations||22/05/2004||15/04/2010|
|Paul Barrett||Fuel producers||18/07/2005||15/04/2010|
|James Hurnall||Consumer interests||3/02/2004||15/04/2010|
|Keith Seyer||Light vehicle manufacturing industry||18/09/2003||15/04/2010|
|Mike McCullagh||Independent petroleum distributors and retailers||3/02/2004||15/04/2010|
|Stephen Schuck||Alternative fuels||3/02/2003||3/02/2007|
|John Bortolussi||Truck manufacturing industry||3/02/2004||15/04/2010|
|Company name||Date of approval||Date approval finishes||Variation|
|South Australian Hot Rod Association||20/12/2006||31/12/2008||Variation of the Fuel Standard (Petrol) Determination 2001 to permit the supply of petrol with a lead content of more than 0.005g/L|
|Australian Barefoot Racers Club||20/12/2006||31/12/2008||Variation of the Fuel Standard (Petrol) Determination 2001 to permit the supply of petrol with a lead content of more than 0.005g/L|
|Australian Formula Jet Sprint Association||20/12/2006||31/12/2008||Variation of the Fuel Standard (Petrol) Determination 2001 to permit the supply of petrol with a lead content of more than 0.005g/L|
|Dry Lakes Racers Australia||20/12/2006||31/12/2008|
|Ski Racing Australia||20/12/2006||31/12/2008|
|Australian Powerboat Association||20/12/2006||31/12/2008|
|Australian Tractor Pullers Association||20/12/2006||31/12/2008|
|Street Machine Association of South Australia||20/12/2006||31/12/2008|
|Confederation of Australian Motor Sport||20/12/2006||31/12/2008|
|National Association of Speedway Racing||20/12/2006||31/12/2008|
|Australian Auto-sport Alliance||20/12/2006||31/12/2008|
|Australian Street Rod Federation||20/12/2006||31/12/2008|
|BSA Motorcycle Association||20/12/2006||31/12/2008|
|Queensland Racing Drivers Association||20/12/2006||31/12/2008|
|A1 Advanced Automotive||20/12/2006||31/12/2008|
|Ford Muscle Parts||20/12/2006||31/12/2008|
|Haddad Race Cars and Engines||20/12/2006||31/12/2008|
|Hercules Competition Engines||20/12/2006||31/12/2008|
|Horsepower Research and Development||20/12/2006||31/12/2008|
|LA Motor Repairs||20/12/2006||31/12/2008|
|BP Refinery (Bulwer Island) Pty Ltd||20/12/2006||31/12/2008||Variation of the Fuel Standard (Automotive Diesel) Determination 2001 to permit the supply of diesel with a density of 810kg/m³|
|Mini Racing Australia||20/12/2006||31/12/2008|
|Northern Dynamics Pty Ltd||12/03/2007||31/12/2008|
|IOR Energy Pty Ltd||20/12/2006||31/12/2007||Variation of the Fuel Standard (Automotive Diesel) Determination 2001 to allow the supply of diesel with a sulfur content of up to 85 parts per million until 31 December 2007. A sulfur content of up to 125 parts per million in Eromanga Underground Mining Fuel will be taken to comply with the sulfur parameter specified in the determination until 30/6/2007|
|Ipswich City Dirt Kart Club||20/12/2006||31/12/2008||Leaded fuel for motor sports Variation of the Fuel Standard (Petrol) Determination 2001 to permit the supply of petrol with a lead content of more than 0.005g/L|
|Drag Bike Riders Association Australia||20/12/2006||31/12/2008|
|Pitstop Motorcycles||20/12/2006||31/12/2008||Leaded fuel for engine building Variation of the Fuel Standard (Petrol) Determination 2001 to permit the supply of petrol with a lead content of more than 0.005g/L.|
|Gene Cook Race Engines||20/12/2006||31/12/2008|
|The Shell Company of Australia Ltd||11/04/2007||31/10/2008||Variation of the Fuel Standard (Automotive Diesel) Determination to allow the supply of diesel (wintermix) with viscosity 1.4cSt at 40 degrees C, density 800 to 850kg/m³, and lubricity 620 mm maximum|
|Mobil Oil Australia Pty Ltd||11/04/2007||31/10/2008||Variation of the Fuel Standard (Automotive Diesel) Determination 2001 to allow the supply of diesel (wintermix) with viscosity 1.4cSt at 40 degrees C, density 800 to 850kg/m³, and lubricity 620 mm maximum|
|BP Australia Pty Ltd||11/04/2007||31/10/2008||Variation of the Fuel Standard (Automotive Diesel) Determination 2001 to allow the supply of diesel (wintermix) with viscosity 1.4cSt at 40 degrees C, density 800 to 850kg/m³, and lubricity 620 mm maximum|
|Caltex Australia Petroleum Pty Ltd||11/04/2007||31/12/2008||Variation of the Fuel Standard (Automotive Diesel) Determination 2001 to allow the supply of diesel (wintermix) with viscosity 1.4 cSt at 40 deg C, density 850 kg/m³, and lubricity 620 mm maximum|
|Caltex Refineries (QLD) Pty Ltd||26/07/2006||30/06/2008||Variation of the Fuel Standard (Automotive Diesel) Determination 2001 to allow the supply of diesel when cetane is measured by number instead of by index|
|Stuart Petroleum Ltd||20/12/2006||31/12/2011||Variation of the Fuel Standard (Automotive Diesel) Determination 2001 to allow the supply of diesel with a density of not less than 790 kg/m³|
|Just Fuel Petroleum Service Pty Ltd||20/12/2006||31/12/2008||Variation of the Fuel Standard (Petrol) Determination 2001 to permit the supply of petrol with an ethanol content of 20% and oxygen content greater than 3.5%|
|Martini Racing Products Pty Ltd||20/12/2006||21/12/2008||Variation of the Fuel Standard (Petrol) Determination 2001 to permit the supply of petrol with an aromatic content of up to 78% volume by volume and an oxygen content of more than 3.5% mass by mass (for petrol containing ethanol)|
|Hi-Tec Pty Ltd||21/12/2006||31/12/2008||Variation of the Fuel Standard (Petrol) Determination 2001 to permit the supply of petrol with an aromatic content of up to 60% volume by volume oxygen content of more than 2.7% mass by mass (petrol not containing ethanol), or 3.5% mass by mass (petrol containing ethanol); olefins content of up to 37% by volume; MTBE ¹ content of up to 10% v/v|
|VP Racing Fuels Pty Ltd||12/03/2007||31/12/2008||Variation of the Fuel Standard (Petrol) Determination 2001 to permit the supply of petrol with lead content of more than 0.005g/L, aromatic content of up to 42% v/v, oxygen content of more than 2.7% mass by mass (m/m) (petrol not containing ethanol), or 3.5% m/m (petrol containing ethanol); olefins content of more than 18%v/v, DIPE ² content of more than 1% v/v; and MTBE content of more than 1% v/v|
|Shell Global Solutions||12/3/2007||31/12/2008||Variation of the Fuel Standard (Petrol) Determination 2001 to permit the supply of petrol with MTBE content of up to 15.1% v/v, aromatics up to 53.6%, TBA ³ up to 7%v/v, and DIPE up to 7%.|
|Netaway Pty Ltd||20/12/2006||31/12/2008||Variation of the Fuel Standard (Petrol) Determination 2001 to permit the supply of petrol with MTBE content up to 3.6% v/v; ethanol content of up to 13% v/v; and oxygen content of more than 3.5% m/m (petrol containing ethanol)|
|Netaway Pty Ltd||7/6/2007||21/12/2008|
|Performance Engineering||7/6/2007||31/12/2008||Variation of the Fuel Standard (Petrol) Determination 2001 to permit the supply of petrol with a lead content of more then 0.005g/L|
¹ MTBE = methyl tertiary-butyl ether
² DIPE = di-isopropyl ether
³ TBA = tertiary butyl alcohol