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Mandatory Mixing Of 5% Ethanol in Petrol– A Step Should have being Taken Much Earlier.

An early decision on 5% ethanol mandate should have helped the country save fuel cost a lot. The cabinet committee on economic affairs decided on 22nd November 2012 of mandatory mixing of 5% ethanol in petrol from December 2012. The Petroleum Ministry will issue a gazette notification shortly to implement the program in 2012-13 sugar season.
But the decision on mandate will not implement the program successfully as the same decision backed-up by a gazette notification was already being taken by the past BJP Government.

The cabinet should have focused on the pricing formula. If we go back, the congress government had passed a notification which reflected the pricing of ethanol based on Import Parity Price of petrol. The same should have continued. This would have given a fair price for ethanol and the sugarcane industry would have been aggressive to supply fuel ethanol to oil corporations, balancing their industrial alcohol and potable alcohol yearly supplies. But the decision though late, “Der sahi lekin Durrust” will make India start a new horizon for biofuels and shall be considered a step to be less dependent on crude.
Ethanol Doping Chronology is given for ready reference.
Year Action Taken
September 2002 Govt. of India decides to use 5% ethanol blending with petrol in 9 states and 4 union territories
2003-04 First year of fuel ethanol program. 158 million litres consumed out of planned 300 million litres
October 2004 Government withdrew the mandatory use of 5% ethanol blending due to shrinkage in Cane Production and resulting shortage of molasses
Jan 2006 Restart of program with voluntary blending by oil companies. Only possible in 7 states.
November 2006 Expected rollout of 5% blending across the country (except north-east and island states).
Annual volume 560 million litres
November 2007 5 % Ethanol blending made mandatory, Procedure started.
Ethanol from Direct Sugarcane Juice is Permitted.
10 % blending made Optional.
November 2008 Government plan for 10% blending across the country expected.
November 2012 Mandatory mixing of 5% ethanol in petrol from December 2012 by the CCEA
Year 2017 National Biofuel Plan – 20% blending across the country.

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