HC Deb 06 July 1999 vol 334 cc440-1W
Mr. Todd

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what steps his Department is taking to(a) advise consumers of the removal of leaded fuel from the market and (b) assist owners of cars where conversion is uneconomic to dispose of their vehicles appropriately or support their continued use. [89083]

Ms Glenda Jackson

Since December 1998 over 3.5 million leaflets have been made available to inform motorists using leaded fuel that they will have several alternatives available to ensure that they can continue to use their cars after the general removal of leaded fuel from the market by 1 January 2000. The Government will shortly be launching a further publicity campaign to reinforce this message. Information leaflets are already being provided with Vehicle Excise Duty payment reminders and these will be followed by advertisements in the national press and the provision of further information leaflets at MOT garages and at filling stations. Information will also be available on the DETR site on the internet.

Most cars will be able to run on lead replacement petrol (LRP) without adjustment to their engines. LRP will become widely available at pumps from the autumn with a duty rate set by the Chancellor some 3.67p per litre lower than that of leaded petrol. Alternatively, where LRP is not available, motorists will be able to buy special additives in bottles or syringe-like applicators for use with the grade of unleaded petrol (super or premium) recommended by the vehicle manufacturer.

Many cars could alternatively be switched to ordinary unleaded petrol, with no alteration to the engine or with only a simple adjustment to the ignition timing, the cost of which could be recovered through lower fuel costs. In a relatively few cases where motorists often use their cars for prolonged heavy motorway driving or for towing they may find they need to have their engines modified. However, the vast majority of cars will not need this extreme modification and independent advice should be obtained before deciding whether this is necessary.

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