Leaded gasoline phase-out
Since the 1970s, successive governments and regions, including the European Union, have banned gasoline containing lead additives. Lead is a cumulative toxin and can damage human health.
Additives such as lead alkyl prevent ‘knock’, the uncontrolled combustion of the last part of the gasoline/air mixture in the combustion chamber. Knock can reduce engine efficiency, reduce power, increase heat load on the cooling system and increase hydrocarbon emissions. It can also damage the engine. Today 'unleaded' fuels can be formulated with other additives that eliminate the need for lead based additives.
IPIECA is a founding member of the international Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles, which is helping developing countries to eliminate lead from gasoline, reduce sulphur levels in transportation fuels, and introduce cleaner vehicles.
The success of this programme in each country will depend on whether there is the political will to overcome adverse market conditions such as low population densities, poor transport and inadequate refining resources.
- Getting the lead out: downstream strategies and resources for phasing out leaded gasoline
- Lead Phase Out- Rio Factsheet
Assisting sub-Saharan Africa countries in phasing out leaded gasoline
Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles
Launched at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development, the global Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles (PCFV) assisted sub-Saharan Africa countries in phasing out leaded gasoline by 2005 and is aiming for global elimination of leaded gasoline in the near future.
Many developing countries experience serious air pollution, especially in their urban centres, and emission sources usually include the transportation sector. In 2000 nearly 100 countries were still using leaded gasoline, which perpetuates emissions by precluding vehicle emission controls. In early 2001 IPIECA made a unilateral decision to support a global phase-out of leaded gasoline and to work with governments to promote quick action. In mid-2001 IPIECA joined with the World Bank, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and several NGOs to convene a conference in Dakar where 25 sub-Saharan African governments agreed, in the ‘Declaration of Dakar’, to phase-out leaded gasoline by 2005.
The PCFV was launched at the September 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) as a public-private collaborative effort to help developing countries reduce emissions by eliminating lead in gasoline, reducing sulphur in transportation fuels and introducing cleaner vehicles. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) hosts the partnership, and the partners comprise governments, industry, international organizations, NGOs and academic institutions. To provide advice and support to these countries, the partnership holds regional, sub-regional and in-country planning and technical workshops, produces guidance documents and engages with government decision makers. The PCFV offered each stakeholder the means to advance goals that it could not achieve alone.
The partnership’s most notable success has been in helping countries in sub-Saharan Africa phase out leaded gasoline by the December 2005 deadline envisaged in the 2001 ‘Declaration of Dakar’. Meeting the deadline has only been possible through the combined efforts of the partners in the technical, political and social arenas, in conjunction with national governments. Although the emphasis has been on sub-Saharan Africa, the partnership has also engaged with other structures in Eastern Europe, Latin America and Asia. In December 2005 the PCFV launched a new initiative to eliminate leaded gasoline worldwide by 2008 in the 30 countries still using it. UNEP’s former executive director, Klaus Töpfer, has called the PCFV ‘the most successful partnership emerging from the WSSD’.
The PCFV continues to expand and is active in the newly formed Global Fuel Economy Initiative (GFEI), which works in co-operation with the International Energy Agency (IEA), International Transport Forum (ITF), the FIA foundation, and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
IPIECA has produced a document that provides background, starting-point references and resources to help regulators, engineers, refiners and marketers plan and execute the phase out of leaded gasoline.