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E5 bio-fuel quality comes under scrutiny from drivers

Update: January, 20/2018 - 09:00
Selling E5 bio-fuel at a petrol station on Thái Thịnh Street in Hà Nội. - VNA/VNS Photo Huy Hùng
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI — Nearly three weeks since RON92 grade petrol was replaced with E5 bio-fuel, customers have questioned the bio fuel’s quality, Tiền Phong (Vanguard) newspaper reported.

E5 bio-fuel, a mix of RON 92 (95 per cent) and bio-fuel ethanol (5 per cent), has replaced RON 92 and co-existed with A95 since January 1 this year.

Nguyễn Văn Mạnh, a car owner in Nam Từ Liêm District, Hà Nội said “Using E5 fuel, my car seems to runs less smoothly and runs out of petrol more quickly.”

He said he previously commuted 3 km per day and spent VNĐ500,000 (US$22) on RON92 per week. However, since switching to E5, with VNĐ500,000, the car runs out of petrol in four to five days.

He is also worried about the E5’s quality as he heard about a burned car using the petrol recently.

“We don’t know it is safe or not because we are customers, not experts,” he said.

Bích Hằng in Hà Nội’s Cầu Giấy District said that since using E5, her motorbike sometimes breaks down. It never happened before when she used RON92.

Nguyễn Mạnh Hùng, vice chairman and general secretary of the Việt Nam Standards and Consumers Association said that more than 50 countries in the world use bio fuel. Replacing fossil fuel with bio fuel contributes to energy safety and reduces greenhouse gas and prices.

Using environment-friendly E5 should be supported, he said.

However, customers’ knowledge about bio fuel is limited. Changing their mindset is a challenge, he said.

Customers have also questioned the bio fuel monopoly, the negative effects of bio fuel on engines and whether mixing E5 with A92 is safe or not, he said.

Meanwhile, petrol companies have complained that they have spent huge sums of money switching from RON92 to E5.

The average investment for a petrol station to switch to E5 is estimated at about VNĐ10 billion.

Companies also said that the environmental protection tax applied on E5 (VNĐ1,500 per litre) is relatively high.

Đỗ Hữu Tạo, head of petrol technical department of Việt Nam National Petroleum Group told dantri.com.vn that petrol is a sensitive product and has a system of standards.

“We have supervised the petrol quality at factory and in the market before consumption. Ministry of Industry and Trade has issued standards for petrol mixing devices,” he said.

“We have tested E5 quality under different weather conditions, including severe conditions such as rain, humidity or in mountainous areas,” he said.

A representative of Vietnam Oil Corporation (PVOil) told Tiền Phong that E5 fuel is high quality.

PVOil has yet to receive any official complaints from customers since the firm has sold E5 fuel at 500 petrol stations and 3,000 petrol agencies nationwide, the representative said.

“If there is any problem affecting a vehicle’s engine, PVOil is ready to talk to customers,” the representative said. - VNS

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