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Besides the frequently postponed abolishment of the AP system, there’s another issue that Malaysians have heard about for some time now, but remains unresolved – the upgrade to Euro 4 fuel. It’s status quo for now though, as the government has still not decided on the date of conversion, Bernama reports.

International Trade and Industry Minister, Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said the government has been engaging with various oil companies in the last two or three years, and has made a decision, but could not implement it as the costs involved are “quite exorbitant” for the oil companies.

“According to the oil companies, it’s going to cost them a lot of money to upgrade their system, factories and plants. They were asking for a postponement, so we are now still talking to them as part of the team led by Pemandu (Performance Management Delivery Unit),” he said.

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Mustapa said that the automotive sector is quite keen for the government to adopt the Euro 4 standard, although we believe that “quite keen” is an understatement on the minister’s part.

“This is urgent because many countries have moved to Euro 4 and some are already planning for Euro 5, we are way behind. If I was in the auto sector, I would be worried that there is no certainty as to when Euro 4 is going to be used in the country,” the head of MITI said, understandingly.

Malaysia is now on Euro 2 petrol and diesel, rungs below Thailand and Singapore, but unlike our neighbours, our fuel is subsidised by the government. Like the AP issue however, it’s not a straightforward situation for the administrators. “What the government is doing now is to balance the interests of the auto industry and the interests of the oil refiners,” Mustapa said.

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We were told by Malaysian Automotive Institute (MAI) last month that Petronas is still some time away from delivering Euro 4 fuel – its Pengerang Integrated Petroleum Complex is set to deliver higher grade diesel and petrol to Malaysians, but that won’t come online until sometime in 2017. Shell, meanwhile, hasn’t revealed its transition plans as yet.

Euro 5-grade diesel will actually be available in Malaysia in the coming few weeks, but it will only be in selected parts of Johor. The move is due to necessity, specifically for lorries that have to make the daily trip in and out of Singapore. The republic had plans to ban Malaysian vehicles with excessive smoke levels from entering the island. Full story here.

In any case, Euro 4 fuel is integral in the new Energy Efficient Vehicles (EEV) incentives policy outlined in NAP 2014, and the last news about that was that studies were being done on it before a timeframe for deployment was announced. So, how long more?