June 20, 2024

Athens News

News in English from Greece

At a gas station in Athens, gasoline was diluted … with toluene

At one of the central gas stations in Athens, to increase the octane number of gasoline, it was added toluene, a dangerous liquid that spoils engines and causes serious health problems.

A fine of 150,000 euros was imposed on a gas station located on Kifissos Avenue, after an inspection, during which it was found that they were selling counterfeit fuel. After analyzing the samples taken, the experts found that “the sample of 95% unleaded gasoline is adulterated and is mixture containing aromatic hydrocarbons, mainly toluene”.

Toluene is added to gasoline more often than other correctors to increase the octane number of gasoline. This is explained by its relatively easy availability, as well as its low cost (although it is not easy to purchase a substance in a store).

Toluene is a clear, colorless liquid with a characteristic odor, also known as aromatic hydrocarbon. Toluene as an additive in gasoline actively used by manufacturers of both common brands of fuel, and specific ones, manufactured, for example, for sports cars.

The latest types of gasoline require high octane numbers – more than 100 units, and toluene, along with other components, serves to achieve this goal. It is not customary to use it to increase the octane number of gasoline in cars used by ordinary motorists, since toluene (methylbenzene) is quite a harmful substance, just like benzene.

There is also toluene substance abuse, which has carcinogenic (fatal) consequences. In general, benzene hydrocarbons quite toxictheir prolonged exposure can lead to irreversible damage to the central nervous system and hematopoietic organs, create preconditions for the onset of encephalopathy.

Toluene also has adverse effects on pregnant women and their fetus. Newborns may present with central nervous system dysfunction, limb anomalies, developmental delays, and attention deficits.

The liquid also has detrimental effects on the car engineas it causes corrosion and decomposes elastic parts (gaskets) such as seals, flanges, tubes, etc.

According to a study prepared a few years ago by AUTH Economics Professor Dimitras Mardas on Fuel Counterfeiting and Smuggling: Policies, toluene, together with alcohols, is the most commonly counterfeited substance.

As Athens News wrote earlier, some time ago a criminal organization was liquidated in Greece, whose members were engaged in supply and import of special chemicals from Bulgaria for mixing them with fuel.

During the police investigation, it was found that since September 2021, a group of criminals carried out supply of organic solvents through two companies based in Bulgaria. Combustible materials were delivered to a warehouse in the region of Northern Greece, “solvents” were mixed with fuel in special tanks, and then transferred the mixture to the tanker. The resulting diluted mixture was sent to the filling station.

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