Most people don’t know that the quality of fuel is different around the world. Generally speaking, the “developed world” gets the highest quality of fuel. Highest quality meaning fuel designed/refined to minimise pollution emitted from vehicle exhausts while maximising performance of the engine.
While emission standards vary from country to country, the general emission standard reffered to is the EURO (European) emission standard. EuURO emission standards were introduced in the European Union to limit pollution in order to improve air quality and health. Since the early 1990s, new car models have had to meet increasingly stringent exhaust pollution limits, known as the Euro emissions standards, before they could be put on sale.
Currently Europe uses fuel based on EURO 6 emission standards or some advanced variation of that. While East Africa (including Uganda) uses fuel based on EURO 4 emission standards.
EURO 6 emission standards for diesel vehicles require fuel with a sulphur content of 0 ppm (parts per million). Which means diesel fuel with no sulphur in it!
EURO 5 emission standards for diesel vehicles require fuel with a sulphur content not exceeding 10 ppm (parts per million)
EURO 4 emission standards for diesel vehicles require fuel with a sulphur content not exceeding 50 ppm (parts per million). The fuel in Uganda and East Africa has only diesel fuel o 50ppm or even higher depending on fuel stations used.
Now in order to reduce the emissions as much as possible, vehicles with EURO 6 come equipped with systems that require the addition of a special chemical (called AdBlue etc) to help the exhaust system filter out even more particles from the fuel to reduce the pollution coming out of the exhaust. That diesel pollution reducing system is called BlueTec by Mercedes Benz but goes by other names with other manufacturers.
Using fuel with 50ppm of sulphur or any sulphur amount, in a EURO 6 emission standard equipped vehicle will lead to injection system and exhaust system failures!! This is due to the engines having difficulty burning fuel with sulphur in it. Any replacement parts would be of the same standard meaning the same failures will re-occur. It is not possible to convert the vehicle engine systems from EURO 6 to EURO 4.
This means any buyer of a used or new vehicle has to ensure they are buying a EURO 4 emission standard vehicle (or lower… EURO 3, EURO 2 etc) or else expect the large increase in maintenance of their vehicle.
The latest EURO 6 standard, MB diesel cars don’t even have a badge for BlueTec on them. You’ll only know they have the BlueTec by the extra blue filler cap next to the fuel filler cap in the fuel-filler box. Even the petrol engines are modified to run on our fuel so they are of a Euro 4 Std.
Please note that this EURO fuel issue applies to ALL Major Manufacturers!!