Unleaded Opal fuel is a low aromatic petrol introduced in February 2005 by BP that has similar specifications to ULP but its lower aromatic content prevents petrol sniffers from getting a “high”. Health professionals, local council, Territory and Federal governments have backed its introduction to reduce the number of petrol sniffers in Central Australia.
In December 2006, the RAA Technical department on behalf of the AANT contacted the AANT road service contractors for their “on the ground’ experience with Opal fuel and conducted its own research regarding issues identified by various users by locating, accessing and inspecting vehicles that claimed to have failures or symptoms.
The RAA generated a report which summarises its investigations and conclusions:
In summary the AANT considers that:
- Opal does not appear to pose a risk to vehicles designed for 91 RON fuel nor did they see any examples of damage caused by using Opal;
- Although low aromatic fuel is known to effect the rubber material that is often used in fuel pumps and cause them to shrink, in the investigation RAA saw no evidence that this effect has caused a fault in vehicles;
- Opal may have a negative effect on the idle quality of some older vehicles with carburettors, however anecdotally this condition appears to have remedied with normal servicing and tuning; and
- The additional cost of using PULP in vehicles that can operate on Opal is not warranted.
AANT considers this to be safe to use for vehicles, but continues to monitor any reports from the community and the motor vehicle repair industry.
To view the RAA and AANT’s report on Opal click here.