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sub-Saharan Africa Topics specific to sub-Saharan Africa. (Includes all countries South of 17 degrees latitude)
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Old 10 Sep 2008
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Which way??
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Hi Guys!

In 2006 there was no unleaded fuel after the last station in Maroc.

If you're not have a cat you run without problems. Leaded fuel is NOT bad for the engine (only for the cat)

The other thing is the quality. Older Bikes with lower compression can run much worse quality than new bikes with high compression. (except you have a new GS with a sensor for bad fuel....)

So the best solution is: old bike without cat.

I really don't know how many times our GS's run with high % of diesel or water;-))
and they're still running well!

Greetings from Perth werner+Claudia
Just traveling
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Old 10 Sep 2008
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The basic premise of buying petrol everywhere in West Africa (ie anywhere below Western Sahara) is that there is no choice between leaded and unleaded. Your only option is to go to the pump that sells 'essence' and stick it in. The only choice you may have is the octane rating, but this choice is generally limited to large service stations in capital cities.

According to the UNEP, and the other sources on this thread, all the petrol you buy should only be unleaded as all the countries in West Africa have now phased out leaded. You would also expect that given most fuel distribution in the region is controlled by large oil companies (normally Total in Francophone areas) then the oil companies should be complying with the requirement to only sell unleaded.

Buying petrol in jerry cans in more remote areas is a different story entirely....
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Old 10 Sep 2008
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Matt and everyone else, thanks for your input. Its seems logical that if a country has only unleaded being delivered to their pumps they ain't going to suddenly start calling it essence sans plomb to them its still essence. They are probably unaware there has been any change at all.

Did i really say logical and African countries in the same sentence. Well i am going in the belief i can get unleaded for my brand new generator and damn the consequences.
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Old 10 Sep 2008
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Interesting, we went from Morocco to Mali through Western Sahara, Mauri, Senegal, Guinea Bissau, Guinee in Jan - May of this year.

The green labels for unleaded disapeared just south of Laayoune. They sold unleaded and also sold super in Laayoune which made me believe that unleaded would disappear in place of leaded (super). The guy assured me that there was no unleaded but only super in the desert.

We didn't see the green unleaded labels until Bamako. We had bikes with no cats so we didn't care but we are about to do the trip again in petrol 4x4s and I had the cats removed...perhaps I shouldn't have. I had read on the internet that leaded was supposed to be phased out but seeing as it's Africa, I just figured it hadn't. Some people had had problems with leaded fuel and their catalytic converters but that information might have been quite old.

I did speak to a man in western sahara that had been running his unmodified peugeot essence on super for a while and said that he had no problems.

If someone gets a definitive answer on this, I'd be interested.

Good luck,

Traveling through Africa on 2 Yamaha XT225s
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Old 21 Oct 2008
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I posted on an almost identical thread on the 4 wheel section, to cut a long story short I was told by the MD of one of Ghana's independent fuel companies (Allied Oil) that all the petrol in Ghana is unleaded. We buy one tanker load per month from them for our few petrol vehicles - all of which are modern, no problem! I have run the petrol in my Honda 4 stroke outboard for a good while - no problem! It is most definately unleaded, and the numerous modern vehicles in Accra (including two lunatics with Aston Martin DB9 s) don't appear to be suffering.
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Old 22 Oct 2008
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Many thanks Gilghana1, thats what i have been hoping for, someone in Ghana with positive news on this subject.
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