WHY DOES FUEL QUALITY MATTER?

Petrol and diesel will remain vital until other types of vehicles become economically and logistically viable in every country. This could still be a long way off, particularly in countries with developing economies. In the meantime, we need to make sure these fuels are as clean and efficient as possible.

Air quality is a global concern, and at Puma Energy, we’re determined that cleaner fuel can be part of the solution. We’re working collaboratively with governments to raise fuel standards. Better fuel is better for the world’s health, better for drivers, and better for Puma Energy’s logistics, too.

Pierre Eladari Chief Executive Officer, Puma Energy

Cleaner fuels can already create benefits in three key areas

  • Improved vehicle efficiency Improved vehicle efficiency

    Improved vehicle efficiency

  • Improved health and quality of life Improved health and quality of life

    Improved health and quality of life

  • Economic gains Economic gains

    Economic gains

  • Over the past 20 years, emissions-reduction technology for vehicle engines has advanced dramatically. As a result, we no longer need to add lead to fuel. But for engines to run as efficiently as possible, we now need to reduce the sulphur content in fuel to very low levels.

     

    How cutting sulphur boosts efficiency

    Sulphur occurs naturally in crude oil and so remains in petrol and diesel unless removed. Very high levels of sulphur in fuel can have a negative effect on vehicle engine durability and efficiency. When sulphur compounds are present in significant amounts, they form acids that have a corrosive effect on engines. The lower the sulphur level, the less likely this is to happen. 

    The lowest quality fuels on the market can have sulphur levels as high as 8,000ppm, while very low-sulphur fuel can contain less than 10ppm. At Puma Energy, we provide fuel across a range of sulphur specifications – in line with local standards and infrastructure capabilities – but we champion high-quality, low-sulphur fuel. Why? Studies have shown that this fuel burns much more efficiently, significantly reducing total fuel costs. So although high-quality fuel might cost more at the pump, with more miles per gallon and longer-lasting engines, it’s the more cost-effective option. 

    The majority of vehicles on the market today, used and new – even in developing nations – are fitted with some form of pollution control technology. But these technologies can only function effectively with low-sulphur fuel.

    EFFICIENCY-ENHANCING DEVICES FOR ROAD VEHICLES

    At Puma Energy, we support the use of pollution control technology by championing the cleaner fuel needed for these devices to work effectively. Catalytic converters, for instance, limit emissions from exhausts by converting gases into less toxic pollutants, through a process of oxidation. Similarly, a particulate filter removes particulates, or soot, from the exhaust gas of diesel engines. A NOx trap is an innovation designed to reduce oxides of nitrogen from vehicle exhausts. The trap works like a molecular sponge – absorbing the NOx gas.

    EFFICIENCY-ENHANCING DEVICES FOR ROAD VEHICLES

    REDUCING SULPHUR IN FUEL

    We seek out the most efficient processes at Puma Energy, to give customers the best value products possible. Chemical adsorption, for example, is a more cost-effective method for reducing sulphur levels in fuel than the alternative process of adding hydrogen. Adsorption can reduce sulphur levels to less than 10ppm, with minimal octane loss, minimum hydrogen consumption and near zero volume loss.

    REDUCING SULPHUR IN FUEL

     

    Other innovations to enhance fuel quality

    Innovations such as additives, air bleed devices and liquid injection enhance fuel quality and can make engines run more efficiently.

    Additives help keep engines clean and boost fuel economy. In 2016, Puma Energy launched high-tech additivised gasolines in Puerto Rico. In the Middle East and Asia Pacific, our focus is to launch additivised fuels to help our customers get improved engine efficiency. 

    We have achieved a top-tier fuel quality certification in Puerto Rico, El Salvador and Panama – and we’re in the process of gaining certification in Guatemala. This certification is granted by the premier standard for gasoline performance, the Car Manufacturers Association.

     

    The importance of high-quality fuel

    Fuel composition is important because it affects emissions directly. If changed, it can have immediate impact on air quality and emissions, and it can enable or disable pollution control technology.

    Michael P. Walsh Engineer and MacArthur Fellow
  • Reducing harmful gases caused by emissions from a range of sources including vehicles, industry, households, shipping and aviation will make a significant difference to air quality around the world, improving millions of lives. At Puma Energy, we’re committed to making cleaner fuel part the solution.

     

    Cleaner fuel means cleaner air – and improved global health

    Running vehicles on cleaner fuel means cleaner, healthier air. Improving air quality helps to ensure better cardiovascular and pulmonary health, and empowers people to live more active and prosperous lives. That’s why we champion the supply of the highest quality fuels possible around the world. 

    Cleaner, lower sulphur fuel is also better for the natural environment. Controlling sulphur levels in fuel can help improve visibility and reduce the effects of urban smog and acid rain. It can also help minimise harm to vegetation, trees and bodies of water.

    Taking action to improve air quality in Europe

    Countries in Europe tightened their vehicle emission standards to Euro 6, for both light and heavy-duty vehicles, following a directive from the European Commission. The plan is to move all countries to low sulphur fuels and ultimately to ultra-low sulphur (10ppm) fuels for both petrol and diesel.

    Taking action to improve air quality in Europe

     

    Enhancing quality of life in emerging markets

    Once a problem restricted to megacities, poor air quality now effects even the most remote areas, particularly in the developing world where lower-spec fuel is more common. At Puma Energy, we operate in many of these developing markets, enabling economic development and opportunity. We are committed not only to providing access to a secure supply of fuel, but making sure it’s of the highest quality possible. 

    As the middle class continues to grow around the world, car ownership will also grow. According to a report by Bernstein, the global number of cars on the road will nearly double by 2040. Affordable means of transport are a big factor in economic growth. As vehicle numbers rise, making them as safe, efficient and clean as possible is a vital priority. We’re proudly pledging our commitment to playing our role in making this happen.

     

    Successful development needs sustainable urbanisation

    Managing urban areas has become one of the most important development challenges of the 21st century. Our success or failure in building sustainable cities will be a major factor in the success of the UN development agenda*

    John Wilmoth Director, UN DESA’s Population Division

    South Africa’s vehicle emissions tax

    In South Africa, a CO2 emissions tax is levied on all sales of new light passenger cars and commercial vehicles. This environmental levy is designed, ultimately, to reduce the level of CO2 in the atmosphere. New-vehicle buyers are encouraged to choose vehicles that are more fuel efficient and therefore lower-emitting, so there are benefits for the environment and for drivers

    The NAASA, the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa, has advised that this legislation should go hand-in-hand with a requirement for lower-sulphur, cleaner fuel – in line with European legislation.

     

    South Africa’s vehicle emissions tax
  • High quality, low-sulphur fuel produces fewer harmful emissions than lower quality fuel. Introducing cleaner fuels globally would lead to cleaner air and healthier citizens, but also to considerable economic gains. If governments agree to set higher fuel quality standards in their countries, they would dramatically reduce the current strain on their welfare and labour costs.

     

    The economic benefits of higher quality fuel

    Higher quality fuel could make a huge difference. That’s why we’re educating and encouraging governments worldwide to adopt higher fuel quality standards.

     

    Fuel quality and the economy: focus on Africa

    In 2007, the AFRI specifications were introduced to provide a roadmap for governments across Africa to improve fuel quality by 2030. These set a minimum target for countries to reduce sulphur content from 8,000ppm (AFRI-1), to 3500ppm (AFRI-2), 500ppm (AFRI-3) and progressively to 50ppm by 2020 (AFRI-4). Since these specifications were introduced, 18 countries have improved their standards. At Puma Energy, we work closely with the African Refiners Association, to advise and encourage governments to adopt these higher standards sooner rather than later.

    Potential savings associated with cleaner fuel in Africa

    In 2009, the World Bank/ARA SSA Refinery and Health Study concluded that an investment of $4.96 billion is needed to improve existing refineries in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and bring fuel quality standards up to AFRI-4 spec.

    Potential savings associated with cleaner fuel in Africa

HOW PUMA ENERGY IS PART OF THE SOLUTION

At Puma Energy, we’re taking action and actively encourage and support governments to do the same.

Find out more