Gov’t considers increasing ethanol blend in petrol

Published: May 18, 2018

Science, Energy and Technology Minister, Dr. Andrew Wheatley (right), makes a point to Managing Director of Total Jamaica, David Ducognon, during the launch of the company’s Excellium fuel at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston on May 16.

KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Government is contemplating an increase in the percentage of ethanol used in petrol, in order to reduce emissions in the environment.

This is according to Science, Energy and Technology Minister, Dr. Andrew Wheatley who was speaking at the launch of Total Jamaica’s Excellium fuel at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston on Wednesday.

“We’re not there just yet (but) I have asked my team at the ministry and at the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) to see how best we can increase it,” Wheatley said.

Ethanol is a clean-burning, high-octane fuel that can be produced from crops such as corn, sugar cane, potato, cassava, and hemp.

Ethanol use reduces greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 50 percent in comparison to gasoline, and keeps harmful chemicals like petroleum additive, MTBE, out of the air.

Currently, service stations across the island offer E10 fuel, which is a blend of 10 percent ethanol from sugar cane in both 90 and 87 octane gas.

Wheatley said that many other countries around the world are offering a 15 percent ethanol blend.

He noted that increasing the percentage of ethanol content in the local fuel blend “will lead to a reduction in the carbon footprint and (will) not interfere with the overall performance of the motor vehicle”.

President of the Jamaica Gasolene Retailers’ Association, Phillip Chong said that he would welcome the move by the Government.

“There is absolutely nothing wrong with it. It would be an attempt to keep the rising (fuel prices) down. As the price of fuel increases, we have to get a bit more innovative in finding ways to reduce cost. Ethanol was originally introduced on that premise and leaves a better footprint where the ecology is concerned,” he said.

Meanwhile, Wheatley and French Ambassador to Jamaica Jean-Michel Despax, who was also in attendance, lauded Total for introducing Excellium to Jamaica.

Total’s Excellium is a new generation of high-tech fuel optimized with specific detergent additives to clean and provide lasting protection to the engine’s vital components, resulting in up to 93 percent less build-up for diesel engines and up to 99 percent less for gasoline engines.

Excellium will be available in unleaded 90 gasolene and ultra-low sulphur diesel (ULSD) at all 57 Total service stations across Jamaica.

Total’s Managing Director, David Ducognon, said the introduction of Excellium to Jamaica is in keeping with the company’s commitment to improving energy efficiency and utilizing more renewable sources.

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