• Centre’s 22.5% ethanol in petrol plan causes alarm

    The central government’s plan to increase blending of ethanol with petrol to 22.5% from existing 10% is causing alarm among petroleum dealers and also vehicle users. City’s dry and high temperature weather is said to be not suitable for using ethanol blended petrol. TOI on Saturday had highlighted ethanol in petrol converting into water. Vidarbha Petroleum Dealers Association took up the issue with district administration after oil Companies turned a deaf ear to their complaints. City MP and union minister for road transport and highways Nitin Gadkari had announced many times about the Centre’s plan to take ethanol blending in petrol upto 22.5% soon.

    President of Vidarbha Petroleum Dealers Association Harvinder Singh Bhatia told TOI doing that will create havoc. “Already petroleum dealers and consumers are facing severe problems with ethanol getting converted into water in underground tanks at petrol pumps. Consumers are alleging that petroleum dealers were mixing water in petrol. Almost all dealers are receiving complaints. Centre should drop the plans of increasing ethanol blending in petrol,” he said.

    Bhatia added that oil companies should not permit ethanol blending with petrol in Vidarbha due to high humidity here. “Ethanol is hygroscopic (attracts moistureand converts into water. High humidity is common in city. Ethanol blending will cause problems not only during rainy season but throughout the year except one or two winter months,” he said. Bhatia also said the petroleum dealers from other parts of the nation too were facing same problems and complaining to the oil companies.

    One dealer Amit Gupta said oil companies should not sell ethanol blended with petrol unless infrastructure suitable for it was available in the region. “Infrastructure, right from depots, oil tankers, underground storage tanks at pumps to fuel tanks in vehicles, is totally different for ethanol blended fuel. We do not have it right now,” he said. Gupta claimed ethanol damaged existing vehicles running here. “It is highly corrosive and damaged silencer and rubber material used for joints in engines. Parts in existing vehicles cannot sustain blended petrol. We can see silencers in most vehicles getting corroded sooner these days, especially since blending was increased to 10%,” he said.

    RTI activist and executive member of Akhil Bhartiya Grahak Panchayat, local chapter TH Naidu said it was a serious issue and citizens needed to fight against the Centre’s move. “I will take up the issue with panchayat office bearers. District administration cannot run away from it. It is the responsibility of the district administration to safeguard consumers and prevent loss to them,” he said. Jordan Lasley Authentic Jersey

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