By Alex Julius
Opal Fuel was launched in 2005 as a joint initiative with the Federal Government to combat petrol sniffing in remote communities. Since late 2010, Opal fuel — with an advanced fuel formulation — has been pumping through service stations and is safe to use both in cars and in boats.Opal fuel is a direct substitute for regular unleaded fuel with an octane rating of 91. It meets the National Fuel Quality Standards Act 2000 which provides the legislative basis for national fuel quality and fuel quality information standards for Australia. Opal fuel is suitable for use in cars and boats that are compatible with regular unleaded 91, including cars, petrol 4WDs, boats and vans.Opal Looks After Your Vehicle The use of ordinary fuels in vehicles can leave deposits on critical parts of your engine, preventing it from working as well as it could. However, the new and improved Opal fuel has been specifically formulated to clean your engine as you drive, helping to remove these deposits and prevent new sooty deposits from forming. Orbital independent laboratory testing showed that, after 3,200km, there were significantly less deposits on the inlet valves of the cylinders using the new and improved Opal fuel. Inlet valves that had been exposed to regular unleaded 91, and were now exposed to new and improved Opal fuel, showed up to 20.8% (with an average of 10.6%) of the deposits on the inlet valves were removed within 3,200 km. In addition, independent testing shows further benefits such as lower exhaust emissions and reduced exhaust air toxics.Boats and Opal Through independent laboratory and field testing, BP has also ensured that Opal fuel is safe to use in boat engines where the manufacturer has recommended the use of regular unleaded 91. Outboard engine testing at Orbital’s WA laboratory showed that, after running new and improved Opal fuel for five hours per day over three consecutive days, there was no significant change seen in the condition of the inlet ports, valves, fuel injectors or spark plugs nor a significant reduction in flow rate which would indicate fouling.Independent testing on Opal fuel confirmed that it offers equivalent performance to regular unleaded 91. In fact, the engine stability at the 2200rpm-2500rpm mode of operation appeared to improve whilst using new and improved Opal fuel.The Arnhemland Barramundi Nature Lodge, near the remote Aboriginal community of Maningrida, was involved in the 2010 field testing, which demonstrated clearly that the new and improved Opal was safe to use without the need for an additional additive.The Arnhemland Barramundi Nature Lodge uses Opal with all of its seven boats. Lodge Manager, Dave Thomas, reckons “our engines simply purr with the new and improved Opal. I am delighted not only with the performance of the fuel but also with the fact that Opal is eliminating the incredibly dangerous practice of petrol-sniffing.”Using Opal Fuel — Life Couldn’t Be Easier When driving or boating within (or to and from) remote communities, Opal fuel is easy to use. It is an equivalent fuel to regular unleaded fuel (octane rating of 91) and can be mixed with the regular unleaded 91 fuel already in your vehicle or boat fuel tanks.There is no need to adjust your vehicle or outboard management system to use Opal fuel. And if you have a two-stroke engine, Opal fuel can be mixed with two-stroke fuel where the manufacturer recommends the use of regular unleaded 91.Furthermore, Opal fuel is subsidised under the Australian Government’s Petrol Sniffing Prevention Program. This allows Opal fuel to be priced at an equivalent local rate to regular unleaded 91, so there is no need to budget extra for travels around Australia.Combating Petrol Sniffing Australian Government research shows that the introduction of Opal fuel has helped reduce the incidence of petrol sniffing by up to 94% in affected communities, and thus has been a major success.Where has Opal been rolled out to? Opal fuel has been available in some parts of the Northern Territory, South Australia, Queensland and Western Australia since 2005, and was recently introduced in the Top End in Kakadu National Park.For more information about Opal fuel, please contact BP Lubricants andFuel Technical Helpline on 1300 139 700 or visit www.opalfuel.com.au.