Fuel quality standards
National phase out of leaded petrol
On 15 March 2000, the Australian Government announced a phase-out of leaded petrol in Australia under the National Fuel Quality Standards Act 2000. On 1 January 2002, that phase-out was completed. The sale of leaded petrol in Australia is now prohibited, except in cases specifically authorised by the Minister.
The Minister has granted an approval, under his powers to approve variations from the standards, for the supply of leaded racing fuel to authorised persons.
Why phase-out leaded petrol?
Lead has long been recognised as posing a serious health risk. Of particular concern is the correlation between increased blood lead levels and decreasing IQ in children, but other biological effects can also occur depending on the level and duration of the exposure.
Lead is emitted to the atmosphere from industry (such as lead smelters, mining operations and waste incinerators) and motor vehicles that use leaded petrol. Before the phase-out of leaded petrol, around 90% of the lead in the atmosphere was from motor vehicle exhausts.
All sources of lead can contribute to lead in the bloodstream and have absolutely no beneficial effects. Lead used in petrol is a significant and preventable source.
Lead replacement petrol
Since the effective prohibition of the supply of leaded petrol since 1 January 2002 when the Fuel Quality Standards Act 2000 came into effect, the supply of Lead Replacement Petrol (LRP), also called Lead Free Super, has been widely available for use in vehicles that formerly used leaded petrol. Alternatively, some vehicles (those manufactured before 1986) are able to run on unleaded petrol. Your vehicle manufacturer will be able to advise you about this.
Now, the number of cars that require LRP has diminished to the point that it is becoming increasingly unviable for fuel suppliers to produce, store and distribute the fuel, and for service stations to supply it.
Accordingly, motorists should expect that LRP will be phased out of the market over time, and to recognise that as the end of 2004 there will be very limited availability of LRP around Australia.
Motorists whose pre-1986 cars required LRP to protect against valve seat recession will require the anti-valve seat recession (AVSR) additive, which is available at service station forecourts. These cars might also require PULP.
The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, the Australian Automobile Association, and the Australian Institute of Petroleum have produced a brochure entitled The phase out of lead replacement petrol (LRP): Information for motorists . Copies of this brochure may be obtained by contacting the above organisations.