NSW government backflips on regular unleaded ban

The New South Wales government has backflipped on its decision to ban standard unleaded petrol following criticism that it would increase motorists’ fuel bills.
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NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell last night confirmed the controversial plan – which was to be introduced from July 1, 2012 – would be axed. O’Farrell said he did not want to unnecessarily force up the price of petrol for motorists who were already struggling with cost-of-living pressures.

Without standard unleaded (91RON), motorists would have been forced to choose between E10 (a petrol blend containing 10 per cent ethanol) and premium unleaded (95RON). There were concerns that more than 800,000 cars and motorcycles currently on the road would not be compatible with E10, forcing those drivers to spend between 10 and 15 cents per litre extra on the more expensive premium fuel.

Last week it was revealed the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission wrote to the NSW government in 2011 warning the shift to E10 would force up petrol prices for motorists.

The former Labor government approved the unleaded ban in 2009 in an attempt to ensure that at least six per cent of all fuel sold in the state contained ethanol. The enforcement date was delayed from July 2011 to 2012 because of last year’s state election. Despite the backflip on the ban, O’Farrell says his government remains committed to meeting the six per cent mandate from July 2012.