Ethanol blending with petrol mandatory

In a step that is expected to help the country cut down its crude oil import bill substantially and reduce carbon emissions, the government Thursday made it mandatory to mix five per cent ethanol in petrol.

The decision will be implemented across the country from December. “The five per cent mandatory ethanol blending with petrol should be implemented across the country, for which the Petroleum Ministry will issue a gazette notification in a next few days, for oil companies to implement from 2012-13 sugar season, effective from December 1, 2012,” an official release said.

Government seeks blending of ethanol in transport fuel to cut the country’s crude oil import bill. The blending programme was initially estimated to save yearly 4,00,000 tonnes of petrol at 5 per cent ethanol blending.

But the chemical sector was always against diversion of ethanol to oil companies for blending purposes. Also, some sugarcane-producing states prefer to supply ethanol to alcohol and chemical industries rather than to oil companies on revenue considerations.

In 2009, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) had decided to mix five per cent
ethanol in petrol but it could not be implemented due to opposition by some sections in the chemical and petroleum sectors.

“The CCEA also decided that the price of bio-ethanol, to be mixed with petrol, would be decided by oil-marketing companies and its suppliers,” the statement said.

The ethanol-blending programme is currently implemented in 13 states with blending level of about two per cent against a mandatory target of 5 per cent.

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