Opal FAQs

What is Opal Fuel?

Opal fuel is a low-aromatic unleaded fuel that has been designed to discourage people from sniffing by lowering the amount of the toxic components which give petrol sniffers a 'high'.

Who manufactures Opal fuel?

Opal fuel is manufactured at BP's Kwinana Refinery in Western Australia.

How do I know if Opal fuel is suitable for my vehicle?

Opal fuel is safe to use if the manufacturer recommends the use of regular unleaded 91 octane fuel as a minimum.

Opal fuel is suitable for use in cars and boats that are compatible with regular unleaded 91, including cars, petrol 4WDs, boats and vans.

Vehicles that shouldn't use Opal fuel include those that require a premium unleaded fuel with an octane rating of 95 or higher. Cars built prior to 1986 may require a lead replacement additive.

What Octane rating is Opal fuel?

Opal fuel has a minimum 91 octane rating and meets all the specifications for regular unleaded 91.

Opal fuel meets the National Fuel Quality Standards Act 2000 which provides the legislative basis for national fuel quality and fuel quality information standards for Australia.

Will Opal fuel cost more?

Opal fuel should be available at an equivalent local price to regular unleaded 91.

Opal fuel is subsidised under the Australian Government's Petrol Sniffing Prevention Program. This allows Opal fuel to be priced at an equivalent local rate to regular unleaded 91 octane fuel.

Is regular unleaded 91 still available where Opal is introduced?

No, Opal will be substituted for regular unleaded 91.

This initiative is a key part of the Australian Government’s Petrol Sniffing Strategy, designed to reduce the incidence of petrol sniffing. As Opal contains low levels of aromatics, it has been proven highly effective in reducing the incidence of petrol sniffing where it has been introduced.

Will Premium unleaded still be available at my local service station?

Premium Unleaded supply is not affected.

Premium Unleaded petrol will still be available at your local servo but you might see changes in the way it is sold in your area including:
  • Premium bowsers may be locked when they are not in use
  • Sales of premium unleaded fuel may be monitored
  • Retailers may not sell unleaded fuel in small containers.

How long has Opal fuel been in Australia?

Opal fuel has been sold in selected communities throughout Central Australia since 2005. Since its introduction, over 2.9 million fills* of Opal have been sold.

* Based on 132 million litres of Opal fuel manufactured since 2005 launch and average fill of 45 litres, calculated using BP’s card customer database average for rural sites in 2012.

Has Opal fuel been tested?

Opal fuel has been independently tested.

An independent automotive testing laboratory report stated that 'there is no significant difference when a vehicle runs on Opal fuel compared to the same vehicle running on regular unleaded petrol'. - October 2004

Testing also showed that any difference in fuel economy versus regular unleaded 91 is minor and should be no more than the variability for petrol grades and driving styles. The reported variation of 0.3 litres per 100km is within the normal variability for petrol grades and can vary depending on car maintenance and driving styles.

Independent lab testing and preliminary field testing on Opal fuel confirmed that Opal fuel offered equivalent performance to regular unleaded 91 in both boat and car engines.

What are the benefits for my engine using Opal fuel?

Opal fuel now contains advanced fuel technology which has been formulated to help break down the sooty deposits which ordinary fuels can leave behind.

The use of ordinary fuels can leave deposits on critical parts of your engine, preventing it from working as well as it could. Opal fuel has been specifically formulated to clean your engine as you drive, helping to remove these deposits and prevent new sooty deposits from forming.

Independent laboratory testing on a Toyota V6 engine showed that after 3200km, Opal fuel cleaned up to 20% of existing sooty deposits which had formed on vital engine parts such as inlet valves.

Can I use Opal fuel in my boat?

Opal fuel is safe to use in boats if the manufacturer recommends the use of regular unleaded 91.

Independent laboratory testing and preliminary field testing on Opal fuel confirmed that Opal fuel offered equivalent performance to regular unleaded 91.

Can I use Opal fuel in small engines, such as a two stroke?

In small engines such as two stroke engines, Opal fuel is safe to use if the manufacturer recommends the use of regular unleaded 91 as a minimum.

Testing of small two and four stroke engines, including a four-stroke generator, a two-stroke line trimmer and a two-stroke lawn mower, showed that the use of Opal fuel in small engines may perform as good as or better than regular unleaded petrol.

However, for optimum performance, BP recommends the use of premium 95 or 98 octane fuel.

Can I mix Opal fuel with two stroke fuel?

Opal fuel is a direct substitute for regular unleaded 91; therefore it can be mixed with two stroke fuel if the manufacturer recommends the use of regular unleaded 91.

During small engine testing, the engines were also run using 28 parts of Opal to 1 part of oil two stroke mix, in place of the normal 25 parts of fuel to 1 part of oil; no ill effects were observed during testing. The line trimmer was run at 55 parts of Opal to 1 part of oil, instead of 50 parts to 1; again no ill effects were observed during the tests.

However, for optimum performance, BP recommends the use of premium 95 or 98 octane fuel.

Will my engine require any adjustments in order to use Opal fuel?

Opal fuel shouldn't require any engine adjustment.

Vehicles with adjustable engine management systems should be set within the range prescribed by the engine manufacturer. No adjustment should be necessary other than as part of routine maintenance to keep the vehicle in tune and operating at its best.

Will a hotter climate affect Opal fuel?

Opal fuel is suitable for all climates.

Opal fuel is less volatile than regular unleaded fuel. That gives it an advantage in a hot climate, as it is less prone to vapour lock. In a colder climate, operation may result in an increase in engine start up time and slightly rough running until the engine warms up.

Will Opal fuel affect any fuel system components?

Opal fuel is compatible with hoses and other fuel system items.

The use of Opal fuel will not have a direct impact on fuel system components such as hoses. Hoses do deteriorate naturally through use and should be checked regularly as they have a finite service life.

How do I store Opal fuel?

Opal fuel has the same storage requirements as regular unleaded 91.

The storage life of regular unleaded fuels is one year when stored under shelter in a sealed container. Once a seal is broken the fuel has a storage life of six months at 20 °C, or three months at 30 °C. If stored in an open container or fuel tank, the storage life is reduced to one month. This can be extended by topping up with one third of fresh fuel, which restores volatile components that have evaporated.

When storing fuel always make sure you use fuel containers that are stamped as meeting AS 2906 and store fuel in a safe, dry place that doesn't have large temperature changes.

Can it be made intoxicating using polystyrene?

Opal fuel can only be made intoxicating through the addition of an already intoxicating compound.

Opal fuel still contains some volatile substances and, as with other fuels, it shouldn't be inhaled as it can have adverse health effects and, in extreme cases, may cause suffocation and death.

How do you know it has helped reduce petrol sniffing?

Australian Government research shows that the introduction of Opal fuel has helped reduce the incidence of petrol sniffing by up to 94% in affected communities.

How can you get Opal fuel in your community?

Opal fuel is supplied under the Petrol Sniffing Prevention Program by the Australian Government’s Department of Health and Ageing.

For your community to be approved to receive Opal fuel as part of this initiative please contact the Australian Government Department of PMC Or see: www.lowaromaticunleaded.gov.au