All 150 petrol stations in the central province of Quang Ngai began selling a new, cleaner brand of petrol since the beginning of this week.
Known as E5 Ron 92, it will eventually replace the standard fuel presently on sale throughout the country - Ron 92.
The province is the first to sell the bio-fuel, which is 95 per cent Ron 92 fuel with five per cent of ethanol made from cassava.
The new version, said to be far less polluting than Ron 92 fuel, went on sale on a trial basis in the province in August.
Nguyen Hung Ho, director of Quang Ngai Petroleum Company Ltd (Petrolimex Quang Ngai), said his company bought 2,000cu.m of the cleaner fuel in August and had already sold 1,700 cu.m.
The fuel will be sold in Ha Noi, HCM City, Hai Phong, Da Nang, Can Tho and Quang Ngai and Ba Ria – Vung Tau provinces from December 1.
All provinces and cities nationwide will have to switch to the cleaner fuel at the end of next year.
The Prime Minister has assigned the Ministry of Finance to preside and co-operate with the Ministry of Industry and Trade to set up a plan to establish a fund for encouraging bio-fuel development.
In 2007, the Government approved a plan on biofuel development to 2015 with a vision to 2025.
After the plan was released, the Viet Nam National Oil and Gas Group (Petrovietnam) built three ethanol plants in Phu Tho, Quang Ngai and Binh Phuoc, with a total capacity of 300,000 cubic metres a year.
Le Xuan Trinh, deputy general director of Petrovietnam Oil Corporation, a subsidiary of Petrovietnam, said this could be mixed with Ron 92 to produce six million cubic metres of E 5 Ron 92.
He estimated this would be enough to provide up to 94 per cent of fuel used each year.
Demand for E5 Ron 92, is still low, so the two plants in Quang Ngai and Binh Phuoc provinces are not yet in full production.
After tests, the Directorate for Standards, Metrology and Quality said the use of E5 Ron 92 would reduce pollution.
Specifically, carbon monoxide released from the bio fuel is only 400 parts per million (ppm) while the figure released from traditional Ron 92 is 700ppm.
Currently, the price of E5 Ron 92 is the same as for the older fuel.
Dang Vinh Sang, director general of Saigon Petro, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that taxi drivers and those in the know had already switched to the “greener” version.
He said Saigon Petro would sell the fuel at all its retail outlets by the end of this year.
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