LCQ7: Supply of ultra low sulphur diesel

     Following is a question by the Dr Hon David Li Kwok-po and a written reply by the Secretary for the Environment, Mr Edward Yau, at the Legislative Council meeting today (November 9):


     Given that since April 2002, ultra low sulphur diesel (ULSD) has been the statutory minimum requirement for motor vehicle diesel, and as Japan used to be the second-largest exporter of ULSD in Asia, will the Government inform this Council whether the earthquake in Japan in March this year has affected the supply and pricing of ULSD in Hong Kong; and if so, what measures the Government has taken and will take to ensure stable supply of ULSD at the lowest possible price?



     The Government attaches much importance to improving the air quality in Hong Kong. Among other improvement measures already put in place, it is Government policy to improve roadside air quality by tightening the statutory standards for motor vehicle fuel with reference to international developments and when compliant fuel can be made available to Hong Kong.  On motor vehicle diesel, ultra low sulphur diesel, or Euro IV diesel, was set as the minimum requirement in April 2002.  Since July 1, 2010, we have further tightened the statutory standard for diesel to Euro V, being currently the most stringent standard in the world.  As compared to Euro IV, Euro V diesel contains 80% less sulphur, and can reduce the sulphur dioxide emissions of existing diesel vehicles by 80% and the particulate emissions by 5%.  Moreover, mandating Euro V diesel as the minimum standard helps pave the way for introduction of Euro V vehicles, which require the support of Euro V fuel to maximise their environmental benefits - up to 40% reduction in nitrogen oxides and up to 80% reduction in particulate emissions as compared with their Euro IV counterparts.

     The Government has been monitoring the reserves of gas oil, including motor vehicle diesel, in Hong Kong to ensure adequate supply for meeting local needs.  The retail prices of motor vehicle fuel are determined by oil companies having regard to commercial practices and their operating costs. We have not observed any unusual fluctuations in gas oil supply as a result of the earthquake in Japan in March 2011.

Ends/Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Issued at HKT 11:47