ARDA Week: Cleaner Fuels, Vehicles will Contribute to Emission Reduction

Mauritanie. gas

The study consists of three reports: Quality of exported on-road fuels (2018), Quality of exported used vehicles (2020) and Scientific research risks (2021). The first report focused on the use of blendstocks with very high concentrations of harmful fuels, such as sulphur, benzene and manganese.

The second report focused on the use of old vehicles and why it contributes to harmful emissions. The last report provided an overview of the risks of older cars in being highly compatible with sulphur, manganese, benzene and other harmful metals which produce higher emissions.

The study found that there were weekly shipments of vehicles transported from Europe to Africa, with many of these shipments containing old used vehicles. For example, the median age of vehicles being transported to Burkina Faso was 15.3 years old.

Harjono expressed that these used vehicles contributed to increasing emissions and air pollutants due to dirty fuels, high mileages, poor conditioned catalytic converters and engine deficiencies. This could pose a challenge to Africa’s efforts to reduce vehicle emissions and the continents goal of reaching net-zero by 2050.

Despite the challenges identified by the study, Harjono pointed out that having regulations in place could effectively reduce the importation of used vehicles and dirty fuels in Africa.

“We believe that oil companies and traders should supply cleaner fuels with the compliance of the policy rule that the ILT has published,” she said. She further emphasized that countries that implement these regulations are likely to receive younger and better vehicles which in turn benefits air quality, road safety and overall health and environmental well-being.

“We believe that it is important to get an agreement at EU level on enforceable and clear export criteria for used vehicles, for example, proof of roadworthiness at the moment of export, compliance with import regulations of receiving countries and international dimensions of Extended Producer Responsibility.”
She highlighted that many of the vehicles are not ending up at the scrap yard in Europe but instead ending up in countries like Nigeria, Ghana and other African countries.

Harjono then gave some key insights including that oil-importing countries need to follow regional fuel quality standards for petrol and diesel; if these standards are not available they should create and adopt national standards; countries that export oil to Africa are encouraged to export cleaner fuels with a maximum of 50ppm sulphur; and oil companies should also provide only cleaner and low sulphur fuels.

“Clean fuels are key for air quality, they come first before vehicles. Without clean fuels we are lost, I would say,” Harjono stated, adding that, “There must be an immediate reduction of emissions independent on the quality of the vehicle; immediate reduction of exposure to carcinogenic benzene which we use in very old cars, as benzene is very harmful; as well as a coherence of quality fuels and vehicles. Younger vehicles brought into the continent without synonymous fuel quality standards is detrimental to emissions,” she stated.

Concluding the session, she stressed that there needs to be joint action between exporting and importing countries as it will take a global collective effort to reduce harmful emissions that is contributing to an increase in air pollution.

Regulations regarding trading of vehicles can serve as a solution to maintaining low levels of air pollution in Africa. As this topic has gained global attention, the African Energy Chamber (AEC), the voice of Africa’s energy sector, will present such high-level discussions at its annual event: African Energy Week (AEW) 2023, Africa’s leading energy investment and networking event taking place in Cape Town from October 16-20.

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