Consumers keep bio-fuel at arm’s length
By Van Nam - The Saigon Times Daily
HCMC – Some 700,000 cubic meters of ethanol is produced each year, more than enough to compose the bio-gasoline E5, but the consumption of this bio-fuel is still low as consumers still fret about the fuel, especially after repeated vehicle fires.
Nguyen Anh Toan, deputy general director of PetroVietnam Oil Corporation (PV Oil), told the Daily on Wednesday that PV Oil began to sell E5 petrol in August 2010 and now the bio-fuel is available in 41 localities nationwide.
“Despite the many retail stations, sales remain poor because consumers have yet to get accustomed to the product, even when its price is VND100 per liter lower than A92 petrol. Since its launch into the market in August 2010, only some 25,000 cubic meters of E5 petrol has been sold so far, very little compared to the initial expectation,” said Toan.
PV Oil has invested in three ethanol plants. Other enterprises have about 6-7 alcohol fuel plants with the combined output of 700,000 cubic meters a year.
E5 petrol is a mixture of 5% ethanol and 95% A92 gasoline. In principle, with ethanol content, petrol will burn better and emit fewer pollutants, Toan said.
However, local consumers are indifferent to the eco-friendly fuel, and the State does not have policies to encourage bio-petrol production, while bio-petrol producers in other countries are enjoying tax incentives and bio-fuel development policies.
“As this is a new kind of fuel, and plus the recent motorcycle fires, consumers grow hesitant to use petrol blended with ethanol. Information on the media is not clear, causing misunderstandings and thus consumers are afraid of the new fuel,” Toan noted.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade is compiling a draft decision on a schedule to oblige the use of bio-fuels mixed with traditional fuels.
In particular, starting from December 1 next year, road vehicles in Hanoi, HCMC, Haiphong, Danang, Can Tho, Quang Ngai and Ba Ria-Vung Tau must use a mandatory ratio of E5 petrol. The decision will take effect nationwide in June 1, 2015.