• Madani Sahari

Euro fuel standard key in attaining air quality

It is now seems like a seasonal weather pattern that this region will be covered with haze once every year. The haze occurrences have often upset children schooling schedules, flight landing and departures, health hazards for many young and old and many more is a man made environmental degradation of a kind.

The air quality during these haze episodes are measured using the “Pollutant Standards Index”, or PSI, which is a number used to provide the public with understandable indicator of the air pollution level at any one time. The PSI is presented as a number ranging from 0 indicating an excellent air quality to 500 indicating the quality of air at its worst.

Industrious cities such as London in the UK and Los Angeles in the USA have had haze or smog atmospheric pollution in the recent pass that resulted in both governments to introduce the Clean Air Act in 1956 and 1955 respectively. The Acts were targeted to ascertain some level of control on the polluting nature of the power generating facilities burning coal, oil and natural gas.

Today the two cities have strictly enforced the act to ensure the quality of air is within a predetermined level. Consequently the enforcement of the acts gradually affected the gaseous emission control of motor vehicles in the cities, which is equally considered as air polluting agents.

As early as 1971 upon the introduction of unleaded fuel in the USA “Green fuel” revolution for automobiles began around the globe. Malaysia began to regulate the reduction in lead content of the nation petrol supply in 1985 and further reduction was enforced in 1990. Nine years later, in 1999, the nation petrol supply was declared totally unleaded.

Meanwhile in 1994, the European nations began to implement the Euro 1 standard replacing their leaded fuel with the unleaded version.  Further reduction of the carbon monoxide (CO) emissions was then achieved through additional enforcement of fitting the universal catalytic converters to the vehicles exhaust system.

The introduction of Euro 2 in 1996 was to limit the emission of other harmful gaseous such as unburned hydrocarbons and oxides of nitrogen for both petrol and diesel vehicles. Substantial reduction of sulfur contents in fuels were also regulated under Euro 2 limiting the content to a maximum of 500ppm for diesel engine.

Euro 3 fuel standard was introduced in 2000 promising to further reduce the sulfur contents for diesel and petrol set at 350ppm and 150ppm respectively. Consecutively Euro 4 and Euro 5 fuels standards were respectively implemented in 2005 and 2009 ensuring further reduction in sulfur contents of 10ppm and harmful gaseous emission in vehicles.

Recently introduced Euro 6 fuel standard is imposing a further 67% reduction in Nitrogen Oxides exhaust emissions compared to that of Euro 5 for diesel engines. Contrary to the earlier perception that diesel is a polluting fuel, the modern diesel engine, coupled with Euro 6 fuel standard, are now considered advanced automotive fossil fuel power train capable of meeting the Energy Efficient Vehicle set criteria.

The government initiative towards encouraging fuel efficient and environmental friendly motoring quality fuel is now being promoted with the introduction of Euro 5 diesel in the market place. In 2014 some 13 stations in the southern part of Malaysia began to sell Euro 5 diesel marking the beginning of high fuel quality entering the country, meanwhile Euro 5 diesels is now available in Klang Valley.

The introduction of higher Euro fuel standard is an important way to help the nation in its battle to attain air quality with the continuous haze occurrences from time to time.

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