No changes in fuel quality: ZERA

The Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) has dismissed claims that the quality of fuel sold in the country was now weaker, maintaining blending ratio of unleaded petrol with ethanol was consistent across the country.

This statement by ZERA follows complaints made by motorists that fuel they poured from garages was perhaps diluted unevenly, as it did not last longer.

“All petrol coming by pipeline is blended with ethanol to a gazetted level, currently 20 percent, at the National Oil Infrastructure Company (NOIC) or at licensed blending sites” ZERA said in a statement released Tuesday.

The energy regulator said it was necessary to address concerns made by the public on the quality of fuel in Zimbabwe as it was affecting the country’s fuel economy

“90 percent of petroleum fuel used in Zimbabwe comes by pipeline from Beira to Feruka, Mabvuku and Msasa depots where it is subjected to strict quality tests before release into the market,” said the statement.

All the petrol that comes into the country by pipeline is then blended with ethanol to the country’s requirements.

ZERA also added that it consistently conducts routine quality inspections at all fuel service stations across the country and prosecutes those who violate rules of operation.

“From January 2019 to August 2019 the average compliance rate to fuel quality standards was 99.2 percent across the country with only one site being prosecuted for having contaminated diesel,” the energy regulator pointed out.

“ZERA wishes to assure the public that the blending ratio of unleaded petrol and ethanol obtaining in the market is consistent across the country and is in line with the ZWS 964:3 standard for E20 blend.”

According to ZERA, blending petrol with ethanol has helped maintain a low rate in the price of petrol sold locally.

“Without blending the pump price of unleaded petrol would be significantly higher than it is now. The authority is aware that during periods of product supply constraints as is obtaining now some filling stations may be tempted to engage in illegal and unethical practices for personal gain,” read the statement.

To detect and stop any manipulation of fuel, ZERA said it was carrying out joint monitoring operations with key stakeholders such as the Trade Measures Department.

In the same vein, the energy regulator also encouraged consumers to report operators who acted suspiciously.

“Consumers are encouraged to report suspicious operators in time to enable prompt investigations and corrective action. Consumers are also urged to avoid buying fuel from unlicensed fuel vendors whose product quality cannot be assured and may have been tampered with,” he said

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