What Euro 4 petrol and Euro 5 diesel grades really do for you aside from saving the planet
After some thought I will now discuss a little bit about what is really and truly good about the fact that Euro 5 diesel and Euro 4 petrol for RON97 is now on sale in Malaysia. By the way, the cleanest RON95 could very well be from BHPetrol or BHP, which is at the very least Euro 3. So what does this mean for us motor vehicle users actually?
Sulphur is naturally present in crude oil and usually oil companies process the sulphur out of the oil during refinery process. The extent to which sulphur is removed during the refining process will is partly what makes it Euro 1,2,3,4,5,6 or whatever number compliant. Euro4 now means 50 parts per million (ppm) of sulphur instead 500ppm for Euro 2.
The reason sulphur is bad is that the combustion process within the engine creates a bi-product - sulphur dioxide and this is then released into the environment via exhaust gases. Too much sulfhur in the atmosphere can lead to acid rain. Lots of bad stuff happen in acid rain. Plants die, water is contaminated. Polar ice caps may melt, polar bears may die, the fish may not like acid in their homes and more.
But, I know that most of you kiasu fellas out there would actually want to know what does better Euro grade petrol or diesel personally do for you.
Firstly modern vehicles usually come with multiple catalytic convertors. The high sulphur content in low grade fuel may usually causes a bad reaction to the precious metals which are the main catalysts in cleaning the exhaust gases before they exit to the air. If you must know, the catalytic convertors will be less effective at converting toxic pollutants in the exhaust gas to less toxic pollutants. Some countries that have emissions tests to keep cars roadworthy and a cat, is usually quite a pricey fix. Technically, here in Malaysia only commercial vehicles usually have yearly road worthiness tests. So this isn't such a big deal to most of us.
Secondly, Euro 4M has lower, better vapour pressure for the fuel so the fuel will be less prone to evaporate. Fuel does evaporate, even in the fuel tank. So with Euro 4 you may save 0.00001 sen, when accumulated could enable you to buy a teh tarik in 30 years. But when fuel evaporates into the air, aside from it being a waste, it is also harmful to the environment. Less evaporation ensures that less of the volatile organic compounds present called hydrocarbons, are released into the environment. But do you really care? I think the 0.0000001 sen saved from less evaporating fuel is a more attractive to buy into for penny saving people like us.
Thirdly, I can tell you folks out there that sulphur isn't the only troublesome substance in our fuel. We also have something called benzene. Benzene is a carcinogen. Exposure to benzene has been associated with a range of acute and long-term adverse health effects and diseases, including cancer and aplastic anaemia. Euro 4 has a benzene content of 3.5% instead of 5%. Less is obviously better as we all want to live to 750 like Yoda.
But most importantly, Euro 4 and 5 allows us to purchase those cars that use the super fine piezo injectors that most modern direct injected cars use. You can now go and buy those much, much cheaper grey import (AP holder) Mercedes CGI cars or Audi TFSI cars that have not been tropicalised or localised without any more worries (of course there are some of you who don't and just buy without much thought in the first place). The new grades of fuel will ensure the injectors are not easily clogged up like on the lesser grades. These injectors cost a bomb to replace. Buying a new Mercedes may cost you RM280,000. A grey import may cost you RM200,000. But this time, the cleaner fuel allows less headaches. No more problems like what I wrote about in June 2014 about official dealer cars against grey imports.
It also allows you to run those grey import Mercedes CDI models without issue too. I remember a friend of mine who used to run a W203 C220 CDI had tons of problems maintaining the car. It cost him (more like his company) about RM40,000 for the three years he ran the car. Bad diesel causes problems. I think Mercedes Benz must have been in talks with the fuel companies as they were confident in bringing in their E300 BlueTEC hybrid to be sold here. The Euro 5 diesel would need less particle filter changes and also have less injector failures on most modern direct injection diesels out there.
So go ahead, buy any of the grey imports. You most probably will not have any problems if you run RON97 from most companies and Euro 5 diesel too. I think, aside from ensuring less acid rain, saving some monkeys in Madagascar and less carcinogens floating around... this fact is very important, to our pocket in times like these.