Confusion over Unleaded Petrol

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William J. Mbangula OSHAKATI CONFUSION seems to reign supreme amongst motorists here with regard to the phasing out of leaded petrol beginning January 2006. Many people don’t even bother about the upcoming new situation because they believe it does not make any difference using leaded or unleaded petrol. “There was a time when I went to a service station and I didn’t find the 93 petrol. So I used the 95 petrol, which up to now has not caused any problem. My vehicle is still running,” says a principal of a school here. He notes further that information about what the new changes entail is very sketchy to him and he will need to do more research on how to adjust to the new situation. His vehicle is a Toyota 4×4 1996 model. A far as Sinsikus Errki is concerned this whole thing is just a business deal between the Government and oil companies, which want to have a monopoly over selling petrol. He says the Government is being abused by money-mongers to threaten its own citizens into incurring expenses more than what they can afford. Errki says it is expensive to adjust his vehicle to fit the new situation. His is a Toyota 4×4 model 1993 and he believes that if he tries to tamper with it, it will cost him between N$1000 and N$2000 to meet the requirements of the new arrangements. “I have heard people talking about it in the villages but they are not yet ready to spend more money on improving their cars to meet this requirement. We also need to look at the financial position of our people. If they are struggling to make their cars roadworthy how can you expect them to have their engines done to fit the new situation?” he asked. In his view the Government wants to create an unnecessary crisis, which will affect the very people who need to be assisted by the same Government. Instead of the Government creating favourable living conditions for the people, it is making life difficult by putting up barriers such as limitations on the type of petrol to be used. John Kamati has been an owner of a 1996 Ford Courier for eight years and believes not much has been done to sensitise car owners about the new arrangements. “I have heard the stories over the radio but there are no leaflets or any information material explaining the need and how to change. As far as I know the people are confused. Even myself, I am not prepared for that. I don’t know how to approach the matter,” he says. Kamati would like to know more about who the people behind this are and what the benefits are for creating such a situation. “This whole arrangement involves money and I have realised it is in one way or another threatening the livelihood of the people because it demands people to use money to meet the new requirement.” Kamati wanted to know whether there is a standard conversion requirement for all the car owners or is each and every car owner left to find hisher own way to adjust hisher car. “If there are some parts of the car to be removed, are they going to be thrown away or will the car owner get a discount or will the Government compensate car owners for incurring unexpected expenditures. One also needs to look at the financial position of the people, the poorest of the poor who are being forced to spend the little they have more than what they need and can afford.” Thomas Akweenda of Tommy GT Spares says many cars do not need major changes to meet the new petrol requirements. He has a certain product, which can be applied in a car’s engine to meet the new arrangements. Such a product costs between N$100 and N$200. “We are receiving many enquiries on a daily basis but people need to be careful about what they are being told by chance takers who want to make money out of this new situation,” he warned. However, Kevin Moncur, the Technical Expert of Total explained during a briefing in Windhoek early this week that additives in the new Total Eco Premium 93 Lead Replacement Petrol or 95 Lead Replacement Petrol has been proven to provide adequate protection for normal use. Thus, additional additives on sale such as Anti Valve Seat Recession may be unsuitable for mixing with the additives the oil industry has selected for use in the lead replacement petrol. He advised that older cars made before the mid-eighties must use the lead replacement petrol while newer cars built since 2000 have been designed to operate on Total Econ Unleaded Petrol, that is 95 octane. A saleslady at California Spares says her shop is also receiving a number of inquiries but not overwhelming.