Following an outcry over a report about the effect of MMT on cars’ catalytic converters, Ethyl Petroleum Additives said claims that the fuel additive damaged components were unsubstantiated. Naamsa, while still concerned about the effect of the heavy metal, said the debate “should be kept in proper perspective”.

Following an outcry over a report about the effect of MMT on cars’ catalytic converters, Ethyl Petroleum Additives said claims that the fuel additive damaged components were unsubstantiated and Naamsa, while still concerned about the effect of the heavy metal, said the debate “should be kept in proper perspective”.


CARtoday.com reported earlier this week that an as-yet unpublished Naamsa report claimed the manganese-based additive used in unleaded fuel clogs catalytic converters, which are designed to reduce air pollution by removing pollutants from vehicle tailpipes, and can cost up to R10 000 to replace.


Meanwhile, Ethyl Petroleum Additives Limited business director John Aitken said on Wednesday that it was “untrue, damaging and defamatory” for Naamsa to allege that MMT in any way damaged vehicles.


“The auto industry around the world has failed for many years to produce any data which can stand up to rigorous scientific evaluation, to support allegations that MMT is detrimental to vehicles. The car industry produced a report last year, (AAM Study July 2002) which showed that cars of latest low emission technology performed satisfactorily over 160 000 kilometres with MMT,” Aitken added.


He added that Ethyl had “always openly shared” data on its product with the auto industry and challenged Naamsa and its member companies to “subject their data to thorough and open scientific scrutiny”.


In response, Naamsa said the document that the Cape Times initially referred to was an industry internal/confidential memorandum which had been used by the association as the basis of engaging various oil companies on the subject on a variety of fuel quality and vehicle performance related issues.


Over the past three years, unleaded petrol with an octane enhancing metal additive has been marketed mainly in the Highveld supply area and more recently in the Mossel Bay and Port Elizabeth supply areas. The metal additive unleaded petrol is marketed, on a limited scale, in the Free State and the KwaZulu Natal region.


“Based on reports by various automotive companies marketing catalytic converter vehicles with sophisticated emission control equipment, there have been some instances of catalytic converter blockages attributed to the use of the metal additive unleaded petrol,” Naamsa said in a statement.


“Typically, these instances have occurred on vehicles which have exceeded 60 000 km. Where a problem has manifested itself, the matter has been rectified by the vehicle manufacturer in terms of the company’s warranty policy. Catalytic converter vehicles throughout South Africa as a proportion of the total car population is at present less than 10 per cent.”


Naamsa, however, remains concerned about the influence of heavy metals in unleaded petrol on the performance of high technology, catalytic converter vehicles and will “continue to engage the oil industry on fuel quality issues in an effort to ensure that unleaded petrol marketed in South Africa meets the needs of motorists and vehicle manufacturers”.


“It is important to ensure that public debate regarding metal additives in unleaded petrol is kept in proper perspective and avoids causing unnecessary concern specifically among owner/drivers of catalytic converter vehicles,” a spokesman added.


The South African oil and automotive industries and government have formulated proposals on a strategy for vehicle emissions and fuel quality for implementation from 2004 onwards. Naamsa said that in the ideal scenario, cleaner South African fuels would enable the optimum operation of high technology vehicle emission control devices and help improve the country’s air quality.

Original article from Car