Better fuel for cleaner air: discussion paper

Closed 10 Mar 2017

Opened 20 Dec 2016


The fuel quality function transferred to our department from the Department of the Environment and Energy on 1 February 2020.

Update: Regulation impact statement

The Australian Government has considered a range of options to improve fuel quality standards based on the feedback received in response to the draft regulation impact statement.

Read the regulation impact statement

Update January 2018: Draft regulation impact statement

Building on feedback received in reponse to the discussion paper on improving fuel quality standards, the Ministerial Forum on Vehicle Emissions released the Better fuel for cleaner air draft Regulation Impact Statement for public consultation.


Fuel quality impacts human health and the environment. Due to its influence on the amount and type of emissions emitted from our vehicles, fuel quality impacts the air we breathe and the amount of greenhouse gas in our environment.

Without appropriate fuel quality, some emission control technologies in vehicles do not operate as intended, and market access to some advanced vehicle technologies is also restricted.

Improving Australia’s fuel standards will assist in achieving better environmental, human health and engine operability outcomes.

Better quality fuel leads to reduced noxious emissions which then leads to better air quality and health. Which results in:

  • clean air with less exposure to harmful pollutants
  • reduced deaths, illness and hospital admissions
  • lower health costs

Better quality fuel leads to access to better vehicle technology. Resulting in:

  • vehicle fitted with better emissions control systems
  • more fuel efficient engines
  • which then leads to reduced greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles, which help to meet Australia's 2030 greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets, and cuts running costs in your car

Review of the fuel quality standards

The Fuel Quality Standards Act 2000 provides a legislative framework for setting national fuel quality and fuel quality information standards for Australia.  

Australia’s fuel parameters are specified in the standards for each type of fuel, which are made as legislative instruments under the Act. Current legislative instruments comprise five fuel standards (petrol, diesel, biodiesel, autogas and ethanol E85), two fuel quality information standards (ethanol E10 and ethanol E85), guidelines for adding or removing substances to the Register of Prohibited Fuel Additives, and regulations for administering the Act.

A 2015 independent review of the Act found the regulation of fuel quality has led to a significant reduction in emissions. Following on from the review, the Department began a process to consider further amendments to Australian fuel standards to ensure they are better aligned with best practice international fuel standards.

Discussion paper

The Ministerial Forum on Vehicle Emissions sought input from consumers and industry on ways to lower vehicle emissions. The discussion paper explored policy options and legal instruments to improve the quality of our fuel to improve health and environmental outcomes.

What happens next

Input provided from stakeholders will inform the final set of policy alternatives to be analysed and costed by the Department in 2017.


  • Fuel Quality


  • Fuel Quality