E5 grade bio-fuel has been largely ignored by users though it has been available in seven cities and provinces since December 2014 and the Government is set to sell it nation-wide starting this December.
It is sold at many petrol stations in HCM City, Ha Noi, Hai Phong, Can Tho, and Da Nang as well as the provinces of Quang Ngai and Ba Ria – Vung Tau.
But most customers prefer the A95 and A92 grades of petrol because not many understand the benefits of using a greener fuel.
“I know that E5 bio-fuel can increase the efficiency of the engine and protect the environment but I don’t know where I can buy,” Sai Gon Giai Phong (Liberated Sai Gon) newspaper quoted Nguyen Thi Anh Thu, who lives in HCM City’s Go Vap District, as saying.
Tran Minh Thien, who lives in Vung Tau, was quoted in the same story as saying, “I know the Government encourages people to use E5 bio-fuel and it can protect the environment, but I buy normal petrol because I am familiar with it and the prices of the two fuels are the same.”
Fuel companies themselves have not focused much on the green fuel. HCM City had planned to have more 115 petrol stations selling E5 by June 30 this year, but there are only 53 of them yet.
They sold over 21,000 cubic metres in the first four months of this year, or a mere 2.8 per cent of the total petrol sold.
According to a city Department of Industry and Trade study, most consumers prefer familiar fuels to the new E5 grade.
Petrol stations do not want to stock the bio-fuel because of this and the high storage costs and evaporation losses.
In the southern province of Ba Ria – Vung Tau, for instance, only 58 out of the total of 128 petrol stations sell E5, and their sales in the first four months of this year was a negligible 5,500 cubic metres.
Provincial authorities had issued instructions in January that all government vehicles should use E5 bio-fuel. A few months later some departments sought permission to revert to normal fuel, claiming the bio-fuel could damage engines. Strangely, the administration agreed.
The Government should offer incentives to companies to produce and distribute this bio-fuel, experts have said.
E5 is a mixture of 95 per cent petrol and 5 per cent bio-ethanol, produced mostly from corn and cassava.