Global end for leaded petrol

Worldwide it is no longer legal to buy petrol with added lead, global sales have been discontinued according to the UN Environment Program.

Algeria was the last country on earth where leaded petrol was still available, and sales in the North African country have now also been discontinued a few weeks ago. According to UNEP boss Inger Andersen, this is now a "huge milestone" for the protection of health and the environment.

Lead-Aus saves lives

For a total of two decades - since 2002 - the UN Environment Program, in cooperation with scientists, politicians and educational institutions, has been fighting for a worldwide abolition of fuel with added lead. Although many economic powers such as the USA or China had already stopped selling it by the time it started, leaded fuel was still available in poorer countries, including North Korea, Afghanistan and Myanmar until 2016. It is estimated that eliminating lead from fuel can save more than 1.2 million lives annually while saving $2.44 trillion in health care costs.

"Leaded petrol was a big mistake from the start, although people might not have known it back then," said Rob De Jong, UNEP's Head of Sustainable Mobility. The world will have to deal with the consequences for another century. The heavy metal in fuel is responsible for heart disease, cancer, stroke and developmental delays in children, among other things.

Leaded gasoline has been banned in Germany since 1988

Leaded gasoline has been available since 1923, the first fatalities in connection with production in refineries were reported in the USA as early as 1924. Up until 1970, almost all petrol sold worldwide contained the harmful heavy metal.

Unleaded petrol with 91 octane was introduced in Germany in 1984, super unleaded with 95 octane came a year later. From February 1, 1988, leaded petrol was then banned in Germany on the basis of the 1987 Leaded Petrol Act. It was not until 1996 that leaded premium petrol was also discontinued due to lower demand. However, the health aspects were not the only priority when it came to lead petrol in Germany: Due to the dying forests in the 1980s, legislation was introduced in 1984 to reduce nitrogen oxides in the catalytic converter for petrol cars, among other things. However, these technically did not work with the leaded petrol. Leaded petrol for motor vehicles has been banned in the European Community since 2000.

By the way: If you want to know where you can currently fill up cheaply, use our app "Refuel more" ( Goole-Play-Store and Apple App Store ). And if you want to know how much the state earns from fuel, take a look at our slide show.


There isn't a drop of leaded gasoline left to buy legally on earth. In Algeria, the last country, sales have been discontinued since July 2021. The gasoline mixed with the heavy metal has been on the market since 1923 and is responsible for many health problems. While lead fuel was no longer available in the industrialized countries in the 1980s, it was still available in poorer countries well into the 2000s.


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