The End of Leaded Gasoline, Lessons to Remember

Prior to the 1970s, buying leaded petrol in the United States was as common as picking up an egg carton or relaxing in an asbestos-laden house. Since 1970, the US Parliament has officially adopted the Clean Air Act and established the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which has begun the phasing out of leaded fuels. Many lamented the poor performance of cars in the ensuing nightmare era, but the rules continued to inform how car makers operate on a global scale.

But leaded petrol was hanging there longer than you could imagine. Most Western countries (including the United States) did not completely phase out leaded gasoline for passenger cars until the 1990s. Central Asia took even longer, with parts of the Middle East and Africa continuing to provide lead additives until the 2000s.However United Nations Environment Program announced Its leaded gasoline was officially extinct in the summer, and Algeria was the last country to deplete its currently banned supply.

In 2002, the United Nations formed a coalition of African governments and oil companies to stop using fuel because modern engines do not benefit from fuel as much as older vehicles. Leaded gas is almost a death sentence for catalytic converters. However, the main impetus was to address the health risks associated with the burning of leaded fuels. The United Nations was forced to play a long game, but the goal seems to have been successful. With the exception of North Korea, leaded gasoline is now considered to be more or less obsolete around the world.

At this point in the article, you may be wondering why North African countries with poor human rights records should be aware that they have finally banned the least popular fuel blends.

Well, the history of leaded gasoline provides us with a potential timeline for the next regulatory jackpot. It took about 50 years for the world to finally nullify lead in fuel, even after there was little practical reason to maintain lead. However, there are still exceptions to agricultural equipment, racing cars, marine engines, and some aircraft. The next big change is electrification, which encourages similar government bans and will require quite a bit of work to achieve.

The automotive sector appears happy with the switch to electric vehicles, but electric vehicles require fewer personnel to build and the industry can mimic the behavior of mobile phone providers, so key logistics that need to be addressed. There is a problem. To take the environmental claims of EV supporters seriously, the energy grid needs to be strengthened to handle afternoon peak draws without causing additional pollution. We need to find a way to mine the materials needed to produce batteries without increasing pollution or monopolizing the market by certain countries (especially China). Robust charging infrastructure needs to be established and related technologies need to be improved so that EVs are truly comparable to combustion vehicles.

Developed countries are already working on the above as they are trying to predict the year in which the governing body will be able to officially ban internal combustion engines. But if the history of leaded gasoline tells us something, it means that the world timeline can be much longer than everyone understands. Despite bearing the brunt of the Earth’s population with reliable access to electricity, developing countries have some notable exceptions.

Only about 45 percent of Hattians have access to electricity. Meanwhile, African countries such as Chad, Niger, Congo, Liberia, Somalia and Rwanda can only dream of such widespread electrification. Fortunately, electricity availability in all of these countries is on the rise. However, there is no guarantee that this will always be the case. War-torn Libya has plummeted access to electricity over the last two decades, and analysts are worried that the same will soon be true in Afghanistan unless China’s Belt and Road Initiative comes to the region. ..

The above does not call for abandonment of electrification programs, but merely a statement of the fact that government and industry leaders often appear to ignore them. Recent advances in battery technology make EVs seem to be the future of transportation, regardless of your taste. However, the quoted timelines are often short-sighted and complete places like Africa where most of the vehicles are second-hand and need to be able to run on petrol or diesel to effectively cross the countryside. Ignore it.

But it is spurring electrification, which is not the most pressing automobile problem for the region. The United Nations, which has effectively ended the use of leaded fuels in Africa, hopes to begin efforts to reduce the amount of sulfur in diesel fuels on the African continent. Given how long it took for leaded gasoline to be removed from the photo (condemning political conditions, technical gaps, and tight financial conditions), this could also take decades, EVs. I really wonder if it’s even possible to see it become the dominant mode of Africa our lifetime transport.

[Image: Abd Pini Bidin/Shutterstock]

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The End of Leaded Gasoline, Lessons to Remember

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