ALTHOUGH car companies are in a race to be the top brand in the Philippines when it comes to sales and after-market service, they also make sure their products are both safe and friendly to the environment. Petroleum companies have followed suit by offering products that pose lesser harm to the environment.
The government’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) also mandated that carmakers and oil firms start offering Euro 4-compliant products starting July of last year.
Environment Secretary Ramon Paje said mandating cleaner fuel and stricter emission standards were part of government efforts to improve air quality in the country, particularly in Metro Manila.
DENR Administrative Order (DAO) No. 2015-04 stipulates the new vehicle emission standards to be complied with by new and in-use vehicles starting July 1, 2015. The order also enjoins the Department of Energy to ensure the availability of Euro 4 fuels by the date.
The DENR said Euro 4-compliant fuels are considered “cleaner” because they have a sulfur content of only 50 parts per million (ppm) for both diesel and gasoline, compared with 500 ppm for Euro 2. Benzene in Euro 4 gasoline, on the other hand, is only 1 percent by volume compared to 5 percent in Euro 2. As for aromatics, Euro 4 fuel contains only 35 percent by volume compared to Euro 2 that prescribes no limit.
“Low sulfur fuels will lead to reduced emissions of particulate matter. This particulate matter, along with other pollutants, can penetrate deeply into sensitive parts of the lungs and can worsen existing respiratory and heart diseases,” Paje explained.
He said the implementation of vehicle emission limits was consistent with Republic Act No. 8749, or the Philippine Clean Air Act of 1999.
He added the shift to Euro 4 was made possible with the support of oil players, car manufacturers, and transport groups.
Car, oil firms comply fast
Carmakers cooperated very well in making sure their vehicles would meet Euro 4 standards, and petroleum firms started boasting that they were Euro 4-compliant.
So far, it is very hard to find a vehicle in the line-up of most car market that is not Euro 4-compliant. This should not be a surprise because almost all major carmakers in the world have vehicles that are already Euro 5 or even Euro 6-compliant and are even waiting for the Philippines to comply with either or both, so they can introduce vehicles that comply with Euro 5 or Euro 6 in the country.
Also, all petroleum companies operating in the Philippines offer a full-range of Euro 4-compliant fuels, both gas and diesel. One of these companies is Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation that completed in December last year the retrofit or modification of its refining facility in Bataan to produce Euro 4-compliant fuels. This means Pilipinas Shell does not need to completely import Euro 4-compliant fuels as its plant in Bataan can produce 110,000 barrels per day of fuel that is compliant with the Clean Air Act.
Also, since June 2015, Petron Corporation started offering Euro 4-compliant fuels. By the end of 2015, all of Petron’s products were Euro-4 compliant and produced in a refinery complex also in Bataan.
The good news is car firms and oil companies have the option of marketing Euro 5- or Euro 6-compliant product to improve air quality in the Philippines. That is worth watching in the next years to come.