ZIMBABWE has reduced mandatory petrol blending to 10 percent amid public outcry.
Mandatory blending at one stage reached 20 percent but the price of petrol continued to be highly pegged.
Energy minister Joram Gumbo announced the reduction in the latest Government Gazette.
“It is hereby notified that, in terms of section 4 (1) of the petroleum regulations, 2013, published in Statutory Instrument 17 of 2013, as amended by Statutory Instrument 81 of 2014, the minister approves the current level of mandatory blending to 10 per centum,” he said in a government gazette published Wednesday.
“The consequence of this approval is that all licensee operators shall, from the date of publication of this notice, be mandated to sell unleaded petrol which is blended at E10,” he added.
Zimbabwe’s fuel prices have remained very high compared to other countries in the region despite government’s unilateral decision to enforce mandatory blending of petroleum products almost four years ago, claiming it would bring down prices and reduce the country’s import bill.
The blended fuel, which should be cheaper than unleaded fuel, is going for between Z$3, 44 per litre at service stations in Zimbabwe.
Government has previously increased mandatory petrol blending from 15 percent ethanol to 20 percent, on the back of high sugar cane supply, but motorists say they are still to enjoy a significant price reduction.
It still, however, not clear if all vehicle models are compatible with E10 seeing that E15 had cases of incompatibilities, forcing many to redesign fuel units to cater for the high levels of blending.
When fuel blending was introduced with E5 in 2013, unleaded fuel was selling for about $1, 40 per litre which is less than the current costs of blended fuel at most service stations.