PETALING JAYA: Heavy users of diesel have welcomed the government’s move to make ultra-low sulphur diesel (ULSD) here compulsory.
Marketed under the label “Euro 5” by petroleum companies here, ULSD caps the sulphur content in diesel at 10 parts per million (ppm).
Prior to this, diesel sold here was allowed to have sulphur content of up to 500ppm, under the Euro 2M standard.
Responding to the latest development, the Association of Malaysian Hauliers (AMH) said the widespread adoption of ULSD would improve air quality.
“The haulage industry is currently powered by engines tuned for Euro 2M diesel, though these engines can run on Euro 5 diesel as well.
“As most engines are tuned for the former, the impact on the environment will only be significant if all diesel engines in Malaysia move towards being Euro 5 compliant, ” said AMH in a statement yesterday.
Between ULSD and biodiesel (with 20% palm oil derived content, also known as B20), AMH prefers the former as no modifications are necessary to existing engines.
“In this, the association is in full support of the Euro 5 diesel implementation instead of B20 biodiesel.
“However, we are still unclear on the price (setting) for Euro 5. One can only hope the price will be the same as Euro 2M diesel, ” said the association.
Prior to the announcement, pump prices of ULSD here was about 10 sen higher than Euro 2M diesel on a per litre basis.
Environment and Water Minister Datuk Seri Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man, in an announcement on Wednesday, said the implementation of the Euro 5 diesel specification was part of efforts to improve air quality under the Clean Air Action Plan 2010.
The original date for implementation was supposed to have been Sept 1,2020, but on June 10 that year, the Cabinet decided to postpone the enforcement to April 1 this year due to constraints faced by the industries as well as the Covid-19 pandemic.
The move to ULSD is expected to significantly improve air quality here, as seen elsewhere.
For example, Singapore mandated the use of ULSD beginning Dec 1,2005, in preparation for the adoption of Euro 4 emission standards for its diesel vehicles in October 2006.
Environment regulators said that one of the key means to improve air quality was to cap the amount of sulphur in fuel oil, be it bunker fuel used in ships or that in various diesel engines used in generators, trains and motor vehicles.
A survey by the Chemistry Department in 2014 found that concentrations of sulphur in Malaysian diesel were only slightly lower than 500ppm, with average concentrations ranging from 300ppm to 477ppm that year.
After combustion in the engine, sulphur in fuel forms fine particulate matter that is a primary contributor to air pollution and regulators in developed countries have been working hard to lower sulphur content.
Rapid Bus Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Prasarana Malaysia Bhd that runs a huge fleet of diesel buses all over the country, said it had been in consultation with its fuel providers to ensure its bus services would not be impacted.
“Although the current Rapid Bus fleet consists of Euro 2, Euro 3 and Euro 5 engines, the operator does not foresee any operational issues with the switch to Euro 5 diesel, ” said Rapid Bus CEO Muhammad Yazurin Sallij in a statement.