Friday, September 9th, 2011
What is Opal fuel and why was it made?

Developed by BP and introduced 2005 as a solution to combat the petrol sniffing problem in rural Australian communities, Opal is a low aromatic fuel, unleaded petrol containing only a fifth of the toxic solvents found in regular unleaded petrol. These solvents, such as toluene, benzene, para-xylene and ortho-xylene, are the ingredients that cause feelings of intoxication and can cause brain damage or death if inhaled. Since the new fuel formulation has far less of these dangerous intoxicants, it has become unappealing to the people who would use it to try to get high.

The introduction of Opal fuel has decreased the occurrence of petrol sniffing by as much as 70 to 94 percent in some affected communities. Because of this success, many communities and organizations are now trying to push the government to make it mandatory for petrol stations to switch to Opal fuel.

Compatibility and advantages

Opal fuel is meant to replace the current unleaded fuels being sold. It has the same 91 octane rating, and can be safely mixed with any regular unleaded 91 you may already have. All car engines can use Opal fuel, unless the car manufacturer specifies that only premium fuel must be used. Testing in cars has shown that the use of Opal fuel caused a 45% reduction of toxic substances in exhaust, as well as overall lower emissions. It has even been found to clean more than 20 percent of the sooty deposits from important parts such as inlet valves, prolonging the life of your engine and maintaining optimal performance.

Opal fuel is made to comply with the National Fuels Quality Standards Act. All fuels marketed in Australia must uphold these standards, and all cars made in and imported to Australia must conform to them.

Boat engines and other small engines

Outboard marine engines run on Opal fuel with no hindrance of performance. In fact, field testing showed an increase in engine stability in the 2200 to 2500 rpm mode. Opal fuel can also be safely used in lawnmowers, chainsaws, weed eaters and any small engines that require the use of regular unleaded 91 fuel.

Cost and storage

Opal fuel has the same requirements for storage as regular fuel. Store fuel in an airtight, approved container and keep it out of sunlight and extreme temperatures. Sealed fuel should last up to a year, but if opened, will only last 3 to 6 months depending on temperature variations. If kept in open spaces, fuel will only last for about 1 month. Mixing old fuel with one third fresh will make it last a little longer.

Because the manufacture of Opal fuel is subsidized by the Australian government's Petrol Sniffing Prevention Programme, it costs about the same per litre as regular unleaded fuel.

Contact Profile

BP - Opal Fuel

BP has created a low aromatic fuel called Opal Fuel to help deter petrol sniffing in rural areas of Australia. Petrol sniffing is a life threatening issue for many people living in remote communities.
BP - Opal Fuel
P: 03 9268 4757


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