Authorities in Vietnam are planning to completely eliminate its most widely used type of gasoline and replace it with biofuel in a bid to minimize environmental pollution.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade announced on Tuesday that A92 fuel would no longer be produced nor used by the beginning of 2018.
Along with A95 gasoline, another common type of fuel, E5 biofuel will become the primary fuel in the country following the removal of A92.
According to Hoang Quoc Vuong, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, E5 biofuel is already being supplied to eight cities and provinces across Vietnam.
The industry ministry has worked with authorities in other localities to prepare for the replacement of A92 gasoline at local reserves and filling stations.
“With the current pace of the progress, we believe that the goal will be achieved next year,” Vuong said.
There are many reasons for the underwhelming number of users of E5 fuel since it was introduced in 2015, including limited supply and the hard to change habits of local residents, the official continued.
Records reveal that 6.8 cubic meters of A92 and A95 gasoline were used in 2016, while only 590,000 cubic meters of E5 biofuel was consumed.
Specific approaches will be used to promote the use of the environment-friendly fuel in the country, Vuong asserted.
During an interview with Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper, Phan The Rue, president of the Vietnam Petroleum Association, considered the elimination of A92 in line with global trends and a good way to protect the environment.
E5 biofuel is pumped into a tanker truck to be transported to filling stations in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tuoi Tre
One of the obstacles in the production of E5 fuel is the source of ethanol.
Ethanol is only produced at two factories in the southern province of Dong Nai and in the central province of Quang Nam, which are capable of producing 200,000 cubic meters of ethanol to make 3.9 million cubic meters of E5 gas per year.
Two other ethanol plants in the southern province of Binh Phuoc and the central province of Quang Ngai are expected to resume operations later this year, supplying some extra 200,000 cubic meters.
Another concern amongst insiders is the lack of facilities specializing in ethanol fuel mixture, as E5 is A92 gasoline that contains five percent of ethanol, according to Deputy Minister Vuong.
Only four major fuel producers in Vietnam possess such facilities with a total capacity of three million cubic meters per year.
It is anticipated that major improvements will be made to the facilities in order to double their capacity by the end of this year, which will meet nationwide demand in 2018, the official said.
According to Pham Duc Thang, deputy general director of Petrolimex, nine mixing facilities will be invested in this year, adding to the current five already operated by the firm.
Each facility will cost some VND20 billion (US$878,401) and take six to nine months to finish, Thang assessed.
Suppliers will also need to make several changes to their infrastructure for the transport and storage of the new fuel as A92 and E5 are quite different, he added.