Expatica news

Dirty diesel on the rise in Belgium

14 July 2004

BRUSSELS – One tank of diesel fuel in twenty did not reach minimum quality standards in Belgium last year, it was revealed on Wednesday.

Citing a report due out in the coming weeks La Derniere Heure newspaper reported that 290 samples out of a total of 7,983 taken from Belgium’s 3,800 registered fuel pumps were found to be contaminated. 

The dirtiest fuels proved to be diesel, where 5.15 percent of samples were not up to standard, followed by Super 98 unleaded petrol with 3.31 percent and Super 95 with 1.74 percent.

The statistics were compiled by Fapetro, an organisation appointed by the Belgian finance ministry to carry out regular checks of fuel quality.

Fapetro tried to play down the results by pointing out that overall 3.63 percent of samples were inadequate, representing a rise on figures from the last two years.

In 2002 the number of dirty samples came in at 5.44 percent and in 2001 the figure was 6.23 percent.

“This shows that only one sample in 33 did not match the required standards,” said the body of the 2003 results.

Diesel, used by around half of Belgium’s drivers, was the only fuel to reveal worse quality standards in 2003.

The dirty samples were found to be too flammable, owing to accidental or deliberate contamination with other fuels.

Traces of chemical residues, oil or heating fuel were found to be present.

Fapetro suspects fraud in a minority cases where pumps have been deliberately contaminated.

One example would be the sale of heating fuel at the price of diesel to make an unfair profit.

Although very similar products, the fuels are taxed differently.

Fapetro believes seven out of eight such cases are fraudulent rather than accidental.

Any motorist caught out by the scam would face the double whammy of paying inflated prices for an illegally trafficked product and a possible 500 euro fine from customs and excise.

The Fapetro report refrains from pointing the finger at one particular brand but does reveal that well-known fuels had better quality standards than smaller companies.

[Copyright Expatica 2004]

Subject: Belgian news