In Conversation with: JAMA

Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, Inc. (JAMA) is a nonprofit industry association
currently comprised of fourteen manufacturers in Japan.

JAMA pushes for "proper" fuel standards to enable advanced automotive technologies in emerging markets

Before advanced automotive technologies and tougher anti-pollution regulations can have an impact in emerging countries, fuel quality must be addressed, and oil companies must share the responsibility, according to the world's leading automobile manufacturers.

By Kelly Thornton

"Market fuel quality has to be ensured and collaboration with related stakeholders becomes critical prior to introducing new technologies," said leaders of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association. "It is critical to supply high-quality fuel to the market that enables advanced technologies for both functional and durability/reliability aspects. Therefore, mutual collaboration of carmakers and oil companies will become increasingly important."

The association, known as JAMA, is a non-profit industry association of 14 manufacturers of passenger cars, trucks, buses and motorcycles in Japan. Members include Honda, Toyota, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Isuzu, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha, among others.

JAMA is based in Tokyo but has offices in Washington, D.C., Brussels, Singapore and Beijing. Its purpose is to "promote the sound development of the Japanese automobile industry and contribute to social and economic welfare." It conducts research and lobbies for favorable regulations on behalf of members.

Despite the hype over hybrid/electric vehicles, JAMA predicts that the internal-combustion engine will continue to rule in the years to come.

"While fuel-saving technologies such as HV (hydrogen vehicles) are being developed, and alternative fuel vehicles, including EV (electric vehicles) and FCV (fuel cell vehicles), are being introduced to the market to some extent, JAMA believes that the internal-combustion engine will remain to be the majority of power source and liquid fuel to be their energy source for both short-term and long-term."

In an interview with the Asian Clean Fuels Association (ACFA), JAMA discussed member concerns over market fuel quality and the need for "proper" fuel standards.

-Are carmakers in favor of more stringent fuel quality standards? Why or why not?

"It is necessary to ensure the corresponding market fuel quality prior to implementing more stringent emission regulations in emerging countries. In view of this, JAMA strongly requests proper fuel standard to be established and the market fuel quality to be controlled in accordance with the criteria."

-What is it like to feel the pressure from Japan, the U.S. and the rest of the world to increase fuel economy and cut emissions? Can you meet the tight restrictions in coming years? Can you do it on your own, or does it come down to fuel quality?

"Tight restrictions for emission and fuel efficiency have already been introduced to the developed countries (such as Japan, North America, etc.) and the introduction of those vehicles to the emerging markets should be also possible, technology-wise, if adequate lead-time is granted. However, as discussed previously, corresponding market fuel quality have to be ensured and collaboration with related stakeholders becomes critical prior to introducing new technologies."

-What is the biggest fuel quality issue that prevents the OEMs from introducing their latest low emissions gasoline and diesel engines in developing countries?

"JAMA believes that quality assurance of the fuel supplied at the service stations, the final points of the supply chain, is the biggest issue. Developing countries must solve the issues of contamination and/or illegal blending throughout the transportation, storage, and sales of the fuel products."

-Has the increased use of electronics and controls allowed the OEMs to overcome some of the fuel quality issues in markets with lower quality fuels?

"It seems that there are issues that can or cannot be avoided by the feedback from sensing and controls depending on the fuel quality and property items. However, JAMA believes that it is necessary to always consider those vehicles already sold and used in the market to which countermeasures are not yet applied."

-Many countries throughout the world are regulating or mandating the use of renewable and biofuels which tends to increase fuel diversity. At the same time, emissions regulations and fuel economy requirements are becoming more severe. How do the OEMs deal with these often conflicting requirements?

"The use of biofuels is considered based on the philosophy of societal demand and corporate responsibility. However, JAMA believes it to be prerequisites that blending quantity of biofuels and post-blending fuel quality should be controlled, manufactured, and supplied in accordance with the proper standards."

-In the area of gasoline engines, turbo downsizing and Direct Injection Spark Ignition (DISI) engines seem to be gaining favor. Do fuel quality issues prevent these technologies from being considered or used in certain countries? Which specific fuel qualities need to be improved?

"JAMA believes that it is necessary to improve quality control items such as octane rating that is prerequisite for engine design, hydrocarbon composition that may interfere with the fuel injection system, and contamination/foreign matter prevention measures."

-Gasoline hybrid and start/stop systems are being introduced in many markets to improve fuel economy and reduce CO2 emissions. Do these technologies require any special gasoline properties?

"As an example of PHV whose fuel consumption speed may be extremely slow, the possibility of long-term gasoline storage without being consumed in the vehicle fuel tank would require increased oxidation stability of gasoline."

Copyright ©2011 Asian Clean Fuels Association. All rights reserved.

About JAMA

Established in 1967, the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, Inc. (JAMA) is a nonprofit industry association currently comprised of fourteen manufacturers of passenger cars, trucks, buses and motorcycles in Japan. Its organization today is the result of the merger of the Japan Motor Industrial Federation (JMIF) and the Japan Automobile Industry Employers' Association (JAIEA) with JAMA in May, 2002.

Automobile manufacturing integrates many supporting industries, and automobile use is the focus of a wide range of related industries. Directly or indirectly, close to 8% of Japan's working population is involved in auto industry-related work. Auto production furthermore accounts for 17% of the total value of Japan's manufacturing shipments and for roughly 37% of the value of the machinery industries' combined shipments. The automotive industry is thus one of the Japanese economy's core industrial sectors. The globalization of auto manufacturing also contributes significantly to local and national economies around the world.

JAMA works to support the sound development of Japan's automobile industry and to contribute to social and economic welfare. As directions in auto manufacturing increasingly influence the world we live in, JAMA takes its role and mission ever more seriously, acting not only to promote environmental protection and greater road safety but also to improve the international business environment.

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