EU legislation clearly recognises the link between engine emissions, overall engine performance, efficiency and fuel quality – for good reason.

Fuel quality is extremely important, and vehicle manufacturers insist on minimum quality standards to ensure the availability of high quality fuels for customers to use in their vehicles. Poor quality, impure or adulterated fuels can cause damage to engines, increase pollutant and CO2 emissions, and increase fuel consumption.

Market petrol and diesel are complex products containing many different elements, compounds and characteristics. These may result from the basic crude oil, they may be a characteristic of the refining process or they may be added to improve the performance of the final product. Some additives are very good - but some are bad (for example metallic-based additives) and must be avoided.

The EU 'Fuel Quality' Directive 98/70/EC (as amended) sets legal parameters in petrol and diesel that have an effect on the environment and health. The member states must apply this legislation in their territory to limit and control these specific parameters. In addition, International standards EN228 (unleaded petrol) and EN590 (diesel) complete the full specifications for EU market petrol and diesel. Fuel pumps at all filling stations should display a marking to confirm the fuel being delivered complies with EN228 or EN590.

To help monitor for consistent quality of fuels across Europe, the EU monitors fuel quality (Directive 2009/30/EC) – but only for a limited number of fuel parameters.

Fatty Acid Methyl Esters (FAME)

ACEA highlights that instead of going beyond the maximum FAME limit of 7% by volume in the Fuel Quality Directive and EN590, if necessary there are technically acceptable renewable and sustainable alternatives to using FAME such as renewable paraffinic fuels (TS EN 15940) including HVO (Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil) and co-processing of oils and fats - all these are commercially available today.

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