Petrol price drops as Zimbabwe scraps ethanol blending

HARARE – Fuel prices went down slightly as the Zimbabwe’s energy regulator scrapped petrol blending first introduced in 2011.

The Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) did not provide reasons for the decision announced in a notice on Thursday.

“The public and operators are advised that the blending ratio has been reviewed from E10 to E0,” the notice said.

In previous wet seasons, blending was reduced to E5 due to ethanol supply interruptions at Chisumbanje in Manicaland. Sugarcane is notoriously difficult to harvest between December and February.

Green Fuel company owned by Zanu PF financier Billy Rautenbach enjoys a monopoly for the supply of ethanol used to blend imported unleaded petrol.

When blending was first introduced, the government said it would reduce Zimbabwe’s import bill and lead to cheaper prices – but Zimbabweans never enjoyed reduced prices. Zimbabwe’s fuel remains some of the most expensive in the region.

Curiously, in announcing that it was stopping blending, ZERA lowered the price of petrol from US$1.42 to US$1.41 a litre. Diesel remained unchanged at US$1.38 per litre. The prices are reviewed on the fifth day of each month.

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