By Zvamaida Murwira
Government has, with immediate effect, increased the mandatory ethanol blending of unleaded petrol from 10 percent to 20 percent.
The increase in the ethanol to unleaded petrol ratio is expected to reduce the import bill and make the fuel available since ethanol is locally produced.
The announcement was made by Energy and Power Development Minister Fortune Chasi in an Extraordinary Government Gazette published yesterday in terms of the Petroleum Act (Chapter 13:22): (Excepting from Levels of Mandatory Blending of Anhydrous Ethanol with Unleaded Petrol) Notice 2019.
“It is hereby notified in terms of Section 4(1) of the Petroleum (Mandatory Blending of Anhydrous Ethanol with Unleaded Petrol) Regulations 2013, published in Statutory Instrument 17 of 2013, that the Minister of Energy and Power Development approves the current level of mandatory blending to 20 per centum,” read the notice.
“The consequence of this approval is that all licensed operators shall from the date of publication of this notice, be mandated to sell unleaded petrol which is blended at E20.”
Until January this year, fuel was blended by 15 percent ethanol, but was reduced to 5 percent between February and March because of a shortage of ethanol.
The Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) cited low ethanol supply which saw it reducing the blending level to 5 percent.
The level was subsequently raised to 10 percent owing to improved availability of ethanol from Green Fuel in Chisumbanje.
The Government introduced fuel blending in 2008 following the licensing of Green Fuel’s Chisumbanje ethanol plant.
The increase in the ethanol ratio is expected to improve fuel availability, bringing relief to the motoring public.
Of late, Zimbabwe has been experiencing fuel shortages due to subdued foreign exchange availability, a situation that saw the commuting public falling prey to unscrupulous transport operators.
Intervention measures through the issuance of letters of credit by Government, through the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), has seen an improved supply of fuel, bringing to an end long and winding queues that had become a common feature at most service stations.
Government has also started resuscitating the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO) by procuring more buses and partnering private buses, a situation that has seen transport fares being reduced significantly. The Herald.