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Petroleum dealers flag risks associated with ethanol blend

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By Our Reporter

SHILLONG, June 26: The Petroleum Dealers Association of Meghalaya has issued a public advisory concerning the increased use of ethanol-blended petrol, following the Government of India’s decision to blend up to 20% ethanol in petrol. The association highlighted several challenges and risks associated with this blend, especially during the monsoon season.
Since February 2022, the Government of India, through the Petroleum Ministry, has introduced 10% ethanol-blended petrol. Recently, the blend percentage has been increased to 20%. Ethanol, being hygroscopic, attracts water and reacts with it, forming a product that can cause problems in vehicles.
Dealers nationwide have opposed this move, citing concerns about the potential for water contamination in customers’ tanks or in underground storage tanks. Despite these concerns, the government continues to manufacture and sell ethanol-added petrol.
This is especially critical during the monsoon season, where vehicles, particularly two-wheelers, should be kept under covered areas with tank caps properly closed.
In preparation for the introduction of ethanol-blended petrol, petrol pump dealers have cleaned their underground tanks to ensure no water content and conduct daily checks for water accumulation. However, Meghalaya’s heavy rainfall increases the likelihood of water entering or leaking into customers’ tanks, particularly affecting two-wheelers.
Kennedy C Khyriem, president of the Petroleum Dealers Association, expressed concern over incidents at petrol pumps during the rainy season. “It is a very sad affair what has happened on many occasions in petrol pumps in Meghalaya during the rainy season. If something like this happens, petrol pump owners and workers are being wrongly accused of purposely mixing water with petrol and selling it,” he said. “There have been several occasions when petrol pump owners have been forced to pay huge compensations, which is completely unjustified.”
Extra premium petrol concern
Additionally, responding to a report by The Shillong Times (June 25) titled “Premium petrol and snooty workers vex city motorists!” Khyriem said, “We request all the consumers to be aware and not be pressurised into buying premium petrol if they do not want to go for it. One should not be forced into buying anything if they don’t want it.”
“We also request the consumers to bring it to the notice of the petrol pump owners or the association if they are coaxed into buying premium petrol,” he added.

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