/ 23 October 2013

Zim to blend imported petrol with ethanol

Zim To Blend Imported Petrol With Ethanol

Zimbabwe's plan to blend imported petrol with 10% of locally produced ethanol is in accordance with a drive to lower fuel import bills, the energy regulator said on Wednesday.

"The government has increased the mandatory blending of anhydrous ethanol with unleaded petrol from 5% to 10%," Gloria Magombo, chief executive officer of the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera) said in a statement.

The new rules take effect from Thursday, although wholesalers and retailers have up to 10 days to clear their stock.

Magombo said the "country is set to save about $4-million every month in imports through mandatory blending", or about 10% of funds the landlocked southern African spends on fuel imports.

Sources in the energy sector and economists said that Zimbabwe spends between $40-million and $45-million on importing fuel.

Compulsory blending
The cash-strapped country first introduced compulsory blending of 5% ethanol, a sugar-based biofuel with unleaded petrol, early this year.

"Ethanol blending contributes towards energy security of the country, reduces the fuel import bill, creates employment and has the potential for power generation," said Magombo.

Zimbabwe produces sugar cane in the south-east of the country. – AFP