Govt gazettes D50 price

HARARE - Zimbabwe has gazetted the retail price for Diesel 50 (D50) at $1,22 per litre as the country moves to phase out on high sulphur diesel - Diesel 500 (D500) by May 2018.

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.

The Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera) said following the ban of the importation of D500 in a move anticipated to result in the country using cleaner fuel, most retailers are off-loading their last D500 stocks in preparation for the exclusive D50 retail.

“The retail price for the week starting March 5, 2018 should not exceed $1,22 for all diesel…

“Compliance testing by Zera shows that the majority of fuel sites in the country are now selling D50 only, with a few sites selling the remaining stocks of D500 which are expected to be exhausted by April 30, 2018,” Zera said in a statement.

Last year, Zimbabwe imposed a ban on D500, with Zera initially announcing the country will have migrated to D50 by March 1, 2018.

Zimbabwe also missed a June 2017 deadline for the migration, with Zera saying the D500 ban would be effected as from March 1, 2018 with non-compliant firms facing possible prosecution.

In 2007, Zimbabwe moved from Diesel 5000 to Diesel 500.

According to Zera chief executive Gloria Magombo reduction of sulphur in fuels will benefit the motoring public as well as the environment; given that the present diesel variation being used in Zimbabwe has high pollutants.

“This will benefit the country in three major ways. These 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…

Magombo pointed out that after the adoption of Diesel 50, the country will then migrate to Diesel 10, a move expected to be completed by 2020. Diesel 50 — used world-wide in most developed countries including neighbouring countries like South Africa and Botswana — has proved more expensive than the regular diesel.

However, the market has since recorded a reduction in D50 prices recently.

“The reduction of D50 prices in the market is a result of use of the cheaper pipeline transportation of D50 into the country as opposed to rail.

“The convergence of D50 and D500 that is being witnessed shows compliance with the government directive to ban retail by May 1, 2018,” Zera said.

Zera data shows that average D50 prices on the Zimbabwean market indicate Diesel 50 is 1,5 percent more expensive than the regular diesel.

Energy ministry permanent secretary Pattson Mbiriri is on record saying going forward, government will adopt a deliberate strategy of importing vehicles compatible with the fuel type.

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.

The number of retail outlets selling Diesel 50 continues to increase with monthly consumption increasing from about 1,7 million litres in 2015 to about 4 million litres in 2016.


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