Paper presented at the 28th Annual Southern African Transport Conference 6 - 9 July 2009 "Sustainable Transport", CSIR International Convention Centre, Pretoria, South Africa.
South Africa is lagging major developed countries, such as Europe and the USA, in introducing fuel specifications that meet more stringent standards. There are increasing pressures locally, from inter alia the government and the motor industry, to make certain changes to current fuel specifications that enable alterations in vehicle technology which will lead to a reduction in harmful vehicle exhaust emissions. The complete phase-out of lead in petrol in South Africa by 2006 was the result of a multistakeholder process that started in 1986. This significantly reduced harmful lead concentrations entering the atmosphere and enabled the introduction of vehicle technology, which further reduces harmful vehicle emissions. At the same time, sulphur levels in both diesel and petrol were lowered in an effort to reduce the amount of particulates and sulphur dioxide (S02) in exhaust emissions. There is now a need to further review the current fuel specifications with a view to making changes that might be needed to enable the introduction of cleaner vehicle technology in order to improve urban air quality in South Africa. This review needs to take the best interests of the country as a whole into account. In order to achieve the full air quality benefits, an integrated systems approach, including the introduction of cleaner vehicle technology together with the required enabling fuels,
as well as the introduction of vehicle inspection and maintenance programmes and traffic management schemes needs to be considered. The South African Petroleum lndustry association (SAPIA) has embarked on a process of gathering information, through review and study, which can be used in developing a long-term roadmap for future fuel specifications by means of a multi-stakeholder process. This includes a review of all available South African data linking vehicle emissions to air quality impairment, the current and projected South African car parc plus a number of other studies, the results of which will assist in the determination of a rational future fuels road map for South Africa. The process of determining the most suitable fuels for the South African market which will contribute to improved urban air quality are discussed in this paper.
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