Cusi warns public of adulterated gas, seeks to penalize violators
MANILA — To protect consumers from adulterated petroleum products, the Department of Energy’s Oil Industry Management Bureau conducted a series of inspections of several retail outlets and gas stations around Metro Manila and the provinces of Cavite, Rizal, Batangas, and Quezon.
“We have to protect our consumers from buying and using adulterated petroleum products, hence we are conducting onsite inspections,” Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said in a statement. “We cannot allow the oil players, especially illegal peddlers, to short-change our people by selling them adulterated petroleum products.”
From January to November 2016, a total of 924 retail outlets and gas stations were inspected. In the inspections conducted, 46 gasoline stations were found to have methanol blend ranging from 1-16 percent per volume.
Of the stations inspected, three belonged to major players, 18 to independent players, while 25 were “white stations” or retail outlets or gas stations that only had 1-5 existing service stations.
According to the DOE, the methanol content as an innate component in bioethanol does not mean allowing the methanol to be blended in finished gasoline products.
The Philippine National Standards (PNS)/DOE QS 007:2014 standard for Bioethanol (E100) specifies the limit for E100 at a maximum of 0.5 percent per volume or an expected maximum allowable methanol content of 0.05 percent per volume in E10. As provided in the Biofuels Law, E10 blended gasoline is currently being sold in the market.
“We are strictly monitoring the components of biofuels, because we have specific standards for them. As a blend to raw gasoline products, E10 has a very minimal methanol content, because it is inherent to the fuel but it is not intentionally blended,” Cusi explained.
“Oil companies cannot use the methanol component in E10 as their leeway to replace ethanol with methanol in their products, because that’s a different scenario already,” Cusi added.
Cusi said illegal blending of methanol with gasoline has been prohibited because “it can harm motor engines due to its corrosive characteristics.”
Since methanol is not a regulated substance, regulatory bodies such as the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Philippine National Police, do not monitor its importation and sale.
Moving forward, the DOE is requesting a meeting with the Samahan sa Pilipinas ng mga Industriya Kimika (SPIK) or the Chemical Industries Association of the Philippines to identify local entities utilizing methanol in their operations.
If oil companies are proven to have adulterated petroleum products, penalties will be imposed on them in accordance with the provisions of the Retail Rules and Biofuels Law.
The DOE will continue its monitoring of gas stations to address this serious concern and requests the public to be vigilant and report any irregularities to the appropriate authorities. SFM