Innovation in fuel marking technology advances fuel fraud prevention
Fuel fraud is a major global challenge that affects governments, consumers, and the environment. Advanced fuel marking technologies from Dow are effectively supporting governments and oil companies in their fuel fraud prevention programs with safer and more resilient solutions.
Impact of fuel fraud
The economic impact is the most immediate and notable consequence as the annual loss in tax revenue directly affects government spending on public goods and services. For consumers, fuel fraud means that petrol products are adulterated, resulting in lower quality fuels, which can cause long-lasting damage to vehicles, premature obsolescence and increased tail pipe emissions. Fuel laundering also comes with environmental repercussions. It causes significant pollution due to the use of chemicals needed to attempt to separate the fuel markers from the fuel and the illegal dumping of toxic waste, a by-product of the process.
Efficient Fuel Marking
In the fight against fuel laundering, fuel marking is a highly effective solution to detect cases of fraudulent use and enforce the law. Chemical substances (markers and dyes) are added to the fuel to make it easily identifiable through visual inspection or analytical techniques. However, criminals are increasingly using sophisticated equipment and removal techniques requiring more resilient solutions.
Dow is one of the leading solutions providers in fuel marking technologies, offering a range of launder-resistance solutions under the umbrella brand ACCUTRACE™. These markers enable petroleum product identification with molecular marking technology highly resistant to known removal techniques. “Our fuel marking technologies have been used by governments for years, including in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, and recently adopted by the European Union as the new fiscal marker. Since its introduction in 2015, all the evidence indicates that the marker is effective in helping reduce fuel laundering. The ACCUTRACE™ fuel markers help achieve revenue protection, reduce crime and pollution, and act as brand ID protection for oil companies.” said Daniel Saiz, technical service and development, Dow Industrial Solutions.
Tackling fuel fraud through innovation
The latest addition to the ACCUTRACE™ brand family, the ACCUTRACE™ Plus Fuel Marker, was recently selected as the new EU common fiscal marker, replacing the incumbent Solvent Yellow 124. The adoption of the new Euromarker follows extensive independent technical and safety assessments of the latest fuel marking technologies conducted by the Joint Research Centre (JRC) and the Scientific Committee on Health, Environmental and Emerging Risks (SCHEER). The ACCUTRACE™ Plus Fuel Marker outperformed the existing Euromarker and other marker candidates.
The new Euromarker provides unique resilience to the most common illegal removal techniques, including distillation removal methods. This Dow patented technology enables petroleum product identification with molecular marking technology, a powerful solution to help with brand authentication, fuel laundering dissuasion and persecution, and petroleum product tracking. Colourless, the marker is undetectable without dedicated fuel marking analytical methods. “The marker maintains a unique fingerprint that can be detected even after removal attempts, which allows authorities to effectively prosecute fraudulent fuel laundering attempts. Unlike some other incumbent markers, the ACCUTRACE™ Plus Fuel Marker does not contain any harmful additives nor require the use of dangerous chemicals for detection,” added Daniel Saiz.
Collaboration key to success
Fuel fraud is a global issue that no one company can solve alone. Dow is a partner for governments and oil companies worldwide in fuel laundering prevention and protection and is committed to the continued improvement of fuel marketing technologies. This collaboration will be key to help shape efficient fuel marking programs across the globe.
 ”How Chemistry Is Helping Defeat Fuel Fraud”, Alex Scott, Chemical & Engineering News (Feb 1, 2016)
 Ecorys (2019): Study on the estimated economic implications of fuel laundering & wider fuel fraud in the EU
 Elordui-Zapatarietxe Del Aguila S and Emteborg H., Evaluation of the performance of the short-listed candidate markers regarding the technical requirements Call for expression of interest to present products suitable for use as a marker in gas oils and kerosene, EUR 28670 EN, Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg, 2017, ISBN 978-92-79-70178-8, doi:10.2760/343886, JRC107206.