Hardly any 83 octane petrol is sold in big cities like HCM City despite huge imports
Dr. Huynh Quyen, from the Refinery and Petrochemical Technology Research Centre, said, “As A83 is low-octane, it should not be used for modern vehicles. It can foster explosions, heat engines and increase the risk of fires. The circulation of such gasoline may facilitate illegal adulteration with methanol to create even more substandard fuel on the market.”
Dr. Phan Minh Tan, Director of the HCM City municipal Department of Science and Technology, told DTiNews that they agreed with scientific warnings and had proposed a ban to the Ministry of Science and Technology. If approved, A83 will be only circulated until the end of this year and be totally banned from 2013.
According to Tan, the continued circulation of such gasoline will only benefit illegal fuel traders at the expense of consumers.
The research group also proposed Vietnamese authorities heighten oversight over the quality of fuel in the market. They should consider adding some criteria for current 92 and 95 octane petrol to ensure standard quality and improved consumer safety.
“Tighter controls should be applied to the importation of petroleum products as well as the use of methanol. It’s vital to carry out inspections involving the adulteration of petrol to further strengthen our belief that poor quality fuel was the major cause of recent spate of vehicle fires,” Tan emphasised.
Tan admitted state agencies should take responsibility for the circulation of substandard petrol.
“We were requested to pay more attention to inspecting the quality of petrol used this year. However, petroleum importers, trading firms and their agencies should be the first to ensure quality of the fuel.”
He noted that it would be unfair to put all the responsibility on the shoulders of state agencies.
He took HCM City as an example. The inspection force consists of just six people despite the metropolis having up to 700 petroleum stations.
“We’ve requested petroleum wholesalers in HCM City to co-ordinate with local authorities in inspections over petroleum quality. They must make public a list of their agents to facilitate the inspection. If any firm is found acting as agent for two wholesalers they will be suspended,” he added.
Earlier, the ministries of Science and Technology, and Industry and Trade agreed in principle that they would remove A83 from circulation.
Tran Van Vinh, Deputy Director of the Ministry of Science and Technology’s Directorate for Standards, Metrology and Quality (STAMEQ), said that the ministries would send an official proposal on the issue to the Prime Minister soon.