Ministry wants to ban methanol in bio-petrol
By Van Nam - The Saigon Times Daily
HCMC – The Ministry of Science and Technology is collecting opinions from localities and relevant agencies in preparation for a ban on blending methanol into ethanol-mixed bio-gasoline E5, an official said.
Phan Minh Tan, director of the HCMC Department of Science and Technology, told the Daily on Monday that methanol content in E5 petrol is currently regulated not to exceed 3%, but this will be pulled down to zero in the coming time. Methanol will not be permitted to be blended in any kind of gasoline sold in the market, he said.
Earlier this May, scientists at the HCMC Polytechnic University announced some study results showing that poor-quality fuels are the cause of the recent vehicle fires. It is likely that profiteers have taken advantage of the test use of E5 petrol to mix methanol with gasoline, as the authorities have detected many samples of petrol with high methanol contents.
According to the data of customs agencies, the volume of methanol imported to Vietnam has risen sharply in recent years. Particularly, some 90,300 tons of methanol was imported in 2010, and 80,500 tons in 2011, versus 52,000 and 66,000 in 2008 and 2009 respectively.
Tan said many countries clearly stipulate which substances are allowed to be blended in fuels, with specific percentages, but in Vietnam, regulations are insufficient. Perhaps fuel wholesalers do not mix other substances with petrol, but their sales agents do.
HCMC will enhance management of fuel quality at fuel tanks, transport firms and distribution agents, who are not controlled by the State regulations at present, Tan said.
Meanwhile, the penalty for filling stations found violating the rule is only VND30 million, and license revocation has a definite time, not strict enough to deter enterprises from making illegal gains.