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Government approves immediate ethanol blending

THE government has with immediate effect approved mandatory blending of ethanol at the level of 5% and 95% unleaded petrol despite safety concerns for the product.

Taurai Mangudhla

In a statement, the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera) said in terms of the Petroleum (Mandatory Blending of Anhydrous Ethanol with Unleaded Petrol) Regulations, Statutory Instrument (SI) 17 of 2013 and Petroleum Act [Chapter 13:22], the new regulations mean all fuel service station will be selling the product popularly known as E5.

The approval follows the licensing of Green Fuels (Pvt) Ltd after its recent fulfillment of conditions set by government.

Zera said the ethanol production (mandatory blending) licence was issued to Green Fuels (Pvt) Ltd on August 5 2013 in terms of the provisions of SI 17 of 2013.

“The public is advised that the quality specification of E5 fuel conforms to the Standards Association of Zimbabwe Standard: ZWS964 Part 1 for fuels and is based on internationally recognised quality standards for this type of fuel,” Zera CEO Gloria Magombo.

“The approval of E5 is with immediate effect and wholesalers and retailers have up to 60 days to clear their current stock and make the necessary preparations after which all licensees in the Petroleum sector will be expected to comply with the provisions of SI 17 of 2013,” she added.

Zera announced it has fixed the wholesale price of the ethanol produced for mandatory blending at $0.95c per litre for 90 days.

“Thereafter, Zera will review the price every three months. It is expected that the current retail price of petrol will come down by three cents per litre as a result of this blending.”TATEMENT

As part of Zera’s mandate to ensure that prices charged by licensees are fair to consumers, it  will continue to monitor the pricing of the product.

Zera will also carry out the relevant testing of fuel for quality compliance in terms of the Fuel Quality Regulations contained in SI 23 of 2013.

The introduction of E5 is in line with global trends in the deployment of biofuels in countries such as India, Thailand, Latin America, USA, Europe and Australia where the minimum ethanol blending levels are at least 5%.

The benefits of E5, according to Zera, include reduction in vehicle tailpipe emissions, improvement in the octane rating of fuel and energy security for the country.

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