Zim pushes for adoption of Diesel 50

HARARE - Zimbabwe has intensified its fuel cleaning campaign, with the country set to migrate to the usage of Diesel 50 by June next year, Energy ministry permanent secretary, Partson Mbiriri said.

Diesel 50 is a low sulphur diesel that contains 50 parts per million (ppm) sulphur, which is lower than the regular diesel used in Zimbabwe that contains 500 ppm of sulphur.

Mbiriri yesterday said the reduction of sulphur in fuels was going to benefit the motoring public as well as the environment, given that the present diesel being used in the country has high pollutants.

“This will benefit the country in three major ways… which all evolve around environmental benefits, the motorist whose vehicle will be using the fuel as well as the vehicle's internal system such as the exhaust system…

“The Diesel 50 is presently available in the country, but what we are pushing for is to have it as the main form of diesel by June next year. When we achieve this, we will begin migrating to Diesel 10, which we expect to achieve by 2020,” Mbiriri said on the side-lines of a Zimbabwe Regulatory Authority awareness workshop on Diesel 50 in the capital.

He said the fuel type –used world-wide in most developed countries including neighbouring countries like South Africa and Botswana –was also marginally more expensive than the regular diesel.

“Yes, at the present moment Diesel 50 is more expensive, but this is only because it is making its way into the country through road, but as time goes on and we begin bulk ordering, the price is expected to go down,” said Mbiriri.

Zera data shows that average prices on the Zimbabwean market indicate that Diesel 50 is 1,5 percent more expensive than the regular diesel.

The Energy ministry secretary said going forward, government wanted to adopt a deliberate strategy of importing vehicles compatible with the fuel type.

“…the use of the fuel can be achieved through deliberate policies to ensure that vehicles that use the fuel are imported… At the moment, there has been agreement with all stakeholders over the fuel type so I do not think it will be made into law… use of the stick has not been necessary at this stage,” Mbiriri said.

This comes in the wake of concerns recently raised by motorists across the country over the quality of local fuel amid indications that Swiss commodity trading companies are blending and dumping dirty fuel in West Africa with sulphur levels far higher than those allowed in Europe, causing health and environmental hazards.

A report from Swiss watchdog group Public Eye a few months ago revealed that the companies took advantage of weak African standards to use cheap and dirty additives to create what's called “African Quality” fuels.

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