Unleaded Opal fuel is a low aromatic petrol introduced by BP in February 2005. It has similar specifications to ULP but its lower aromatic content prevents petrol sniffers from getting ‘high’. Health professionals, local council, Territory and Federal governments backed its introduction to reduce the number of petrol sniffers in Central Australia.
On behalf of AANT, the RAA Technical Department conducted an investigation into Opal fuel in 2007, talking to AANT contractors and inspecting vehicles that claimed to have experienced vehicle failures or symptoms from using Opal fuel. The report found that Opal is safe for use in vehicles, as follows:
- Opal does not appear to pose a risk to vehicles designed for 91 RON fuel nor did they see any examples of damage caused by using Opal;
- Although low aromatic fuel is known to effect the rubber material that is often used in fuel pumps and cause them to shrink, in the investigation RAA saw no evidence that this effect has caused a fault in vehicles;
- Opal may have a negative effect on the idle quality of some older vehicles with carburettors, however anecdotally this condition appears to have remedied with normal servicing and tuning; and
- The additional cost of using PULP in vehicles that can operate on Opal is not warranted.
AANT considers Opal fuel to be safe to use for vehicles, but continues to monitor any reports from the community and the motor vehicle repair industry.
Read the full report Opal Fuel Investigation 2007