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Fuel eco-standards in Kazakhstan: how feasible? 20 января 2015, 23:24

Kazakhstan is introducing new ecological standards for engine fuel. But experts have some doubts about the effectiveness of this measure.
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Most of Kazakhstanis do not pay much attention to environmental standards of cars and gasoline they use. Meanwhile, European countries are constantly raising environmental standards. On September 1, 2009, the European car market moved to Euro-5 ecological standard. Euro-4 car owners had to convert their vehicles to Euro-5 ecological standard.

Analyst of Kazakhstan Center for Public-Private Partnership Nadira Myrzagaliyeva spoke about the prospects of introducing Euro-5 eco-standards in Kazakhstan, Tengrinews reports citing BNews.kz.

In accordance with the technical regulations "Requirements for emissions of harmful substances (pollutants) by vehicles used at the territory of Kazakhstan," approved by a governmental decree as of December 29, 2007, the country introduced environmental requirements of Class 4: specific standards for emissions of vehicles - from 1 January 2015 for motor vehicles of category M3, N2 and N3 with internal combustion engines running on diesel fuel; performance specification to fuel characteristics - from 1 January 2016.

However, it is not enough to simply introduce environmental standards. Who is to provide the necessary fuel? According to the  comprehensive plan of oil refineries’ modernization approved by the Government, the production of A-80 gasoline will stop after 2015 and production of petroleum products that meet Euro-4 standard (with a prospective to upgrading the facilities for production of Euro-5 standard fuel) will be up and running. With this, the entire domestic demand for high-octane gasoline will be satisfied. Furthermore, the total refining capacity will increase to 17.5 million tons per year from the current 14 million tons per year, and processing depth will exceed 90%.

But the analyst points out that phased introduction of Euro-3, 4 and 5 into Kazakhstan's refineries will take a long time. Hence, by the time Euro-5 will be adopted in Kazakhstan, more advanced standards will appear.

It turns out that technical regulations on vehicles have outpaced the control over the quality of automotive fuel. And now a car corresponding to a higher eco-standard runs on a fuel of lower quality. This is already true for Euro-4 standard and there is no reason not to expect the same with Euro 5, as automakers and oil refineries in Kazakhstan are not ready to simultaneously transition to the new standard.

This is quite a pity, since eco-standards regulate the content of harmful substances in exhaust gases. Road transport emissions account for about 90% of the total volume of air pollutants. Among harmful substances for which exhaust gases are accountable are highly toxic carcinogens that increase the risk of malignant tumors (cancer). Prolonged contact with environment poisoned by exhaust fumes can cause immune deficiency.

Therefore, in order to reduce the impact of exhaust gases on human health and the environment, new types of environmental standards are being developed. In addition, according to the manufacturers of Euro-5, metal and amine-containing additives are not being used, allowing a continued use of this type of fuel to increase engine life, improve the performance of the car and even lower fuel consumption.

Such fuel makes it easy to start the engine at low temperatures. In addition, fuel of Euro-5 standard prevents premature wearing out of engine parts and cleans the engine of sludge (on average by 75% of 15,000 km of haulage). Fuel consumption is reduced by an average of 3%.

But, unfortunately, this looks good in theory. In practice, there are many structural problems which prevent this from becoming a reality. Even with the introduction of the Euro-5 standards, vehicles of Euro-2, 3 or 4 standards will continue to be used, as the overwhelming majority of the population is unable to afford new cars.

By Dinara Urazova

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