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Opal (fuel)

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Title: Opal (fuel)  
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Subject: Gasoline, BP, Indigenous health in Australia, Petroleum products, Commonwealth Oil Refineries
Collection: Aboriginal Australian Health, Australian Brands, Bp, Inhalants, Petroleum Products, Safety
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Opal (fuel)

Opal is a variety of low-aromatic 91 RON petrol developed in 2005 by BP Australia to combat the rising use of petrol as an inhalant in remote Indigenous Australian communities.[1]

Though more expensive to produce, requiring a $0.33/litre Federal subsidy, a 2006 report found it would likely save at least $27 million per year when the social and health costs of petrol-sniffing were taken into account.[2]

A 2010 senate report showed that the introduction of Opal in 106 communities across remote and regional Australia had led to a 70% drop in petrol sniffing in those communities.[3]

Typical unleaded petrol contains 25% aromatics, such as toluene, ortho-xylene and para-xylene. In contrast, Opal contains only 5% aromatics, which means that it has less of the toluene and other solvents which produce the intoxication (or "high") that inhalant users are seeking. The Australian Government subsidizes Opal's provision and restricts traditional unleaded petrol in some remote communities. According to BP, the lower volatile component in Opal means that cars using it are less prone to vapor lock.[4]

Prior to the introduction of Opal, Comgas (a brand of the aviation fuel avgas) has been used in many communities to discourage use of fuel as an inhalant. Unlike Opal, however, Comgas contains tetraethyllead (TEL), a substance that is poisonous and is banned throughout most of the world for automobile use after the discovery that it was creating an increase in lead particles over the entire earth, including the poles.[5]

See also


  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ Opal fuel BP p.l.c. Retrieved 2007-06-08.

External links

  • Manufacturer site
  • Can new non-toxic products eliminate petrol sniffing behaviours in remote Indigenous communities? (PDF) Brett Badger, BA, RMIT University, June 2005 (large bibliography)
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