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Bio-fuel alternative struggles to take off

Update: December, 12/2014 - 08:19
A gas station sells bio-petrol E5 on Dien Bien Phu Street, Binh Thach District, HCM City. E5 has been introduced to reduce pollution, but only 58 out of the around 500 petrol stations in the city sell it. — VNA/VNS Photo Hoang Hai

HCM CITY  (VNS) — At the Petrol Materials Joint-Stock company's branch No 9 petrol station in HCM City's Ly Thuong Kiet Street, the pump dispensing E5 bio-petrol is in the centre with two employees often standing beside it.

When customers do not specify what type of petrol, they will be provided E5. If they ask for A92 or A95 petrol, the staff will try to convince them to use the bio-fuel instead.

Tran Thanh Hoa, one of the staff, explained: "95 per cent of E5 is normal A92 petrol and only 5 per cent is ethanol. When mixed they protect the environment and engine as well as reduce fuel consumption."

Nguyen Van Phi, owner of a fashion shop in nearby Tan Binh Market, has switched from A92 to E5. He said initially he did not want to use it because he did not know what effect the new fuel would have his motorbike.

But after the employees at branch No 9 explained to him and Nguyen Van Chung, the petrol station's chief, even promised to take responsibility in case of any damage, Phi relented.

After using E5 a few times, Phi said it felt easier to drive his motorbike now.

With Chung making a similar pledge to others too, many people living nearby have switched to E5.

The gas station sells around 3,000 litres of E5 daily, with taxis and private cars accounting for 2,000 litres.

Hoang The Nhan, head of gas station No 7 in Truong Chinh Street — also in Tan Binh District — said he sold more than 1,000 litres of E5 a day and demand was rising.

"We have not got any complaints about the new petrol," he says.

However, many gas stations, especially in the downtown area, do not sell E5 and claim it is due to lack of space. Those that do sell see limited demand.

One week after the launch of the new petrol the Viet Nam National Petroleum Group (Petrolimex) sells around 5,000 litres a day and the Viet Nam National Oil and Gas Group (PV Oil) sells 10,000 litres, a tiny quantity in comparison with the sales of A92 and A95.

E5 has been introduced to reduce pollution, but only 58 out of the around 500 petrol stations in the city sell it.

"E5 bio-fuel, with 5 per cent ethanol, will help protect the engine and reduce emission," Tran Van Vinh, deputy head of the Viet Nam Directorate for Standards, Metrology and Quality, said. — VNS

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