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Energy Minister, Clive Mullings, is reporting a significant increase in the demand for E10 fuel by motorists locally.
Speaking at the launch of the Jamaica Automobile Association’s (JAA) ‘Make Cars Green’ global initiative at its Kingston office on Wednesday (Dec. 10), Mr. Mullings said that since the introduction of the 10 per cent ethanol and 90 per cent 87 gasolene blend as a pilot on November 1, demand has far exceeded projected expectations.
“We had estimated that, with 100 (service) stations providing the fuel, we would see a demand of over 3,000 barrels per week for E10. Now, what has happened is that, with 62 stations on-line, the demand is now 8,000 barrels per week. This is a clear indication of the success of (the) project but, moreso, the buy-in from the public,” he stated.
In the meantime, the Minister mentioned that there are plans to introduce the E85 blend. Mr. Mullings said that the state-run Petrojam Refinery has the facilities to manufacture the fuel but the challenge is to “have the vehicles (that can) take 85 per cent ethanol, which, essentially, is a flexi-fuel vehicle, and also (the) gas stations to distribute it.”
“What we plan to do is to utilize one or two pilot (service) stations, which would be able to put in an additional tank for E85, and we would blend for those stations as we grow the travelling stock,” Mr. Mullings said.
He pointed out that under existing regulations, hybrid or flexi-vehicles, which are capable of operating on ethanol, attract an import duty of 60 per cent, while the figure is higher for other units. “I know that there is at least one dealer that has some flexi-fuel vehicles. What we expect is that, as the pilot grows… you will have more of the flexi-fuel vehicles coming to make use of that,” he stated.
On another matter, Mr. Mullings advised that Jamaica has been invited by Brazil and the United States to be part of a tri-lateral arrangement to explore the further development of bio-fuels, in particularly bio-diesel.
He informed that the Ministry is in receipt of the credentials of a leading consultant, “who is going to come to Jamaica, and is going to develop the bio-diesel part of the programme.”
The ‘Make Cars Green’ initiative, which is spearheaded by the International Automobile Federation (FIA), aims to reduce the impact of cars on the environment, by encouraging ecologically sound motoring. In keeping with the initiative, motorists are encouraged to adopt a number of energy saving measures including purchasing energy saving vehicles, checking tyre pressures frequently, reducing load, saving on air conditioning, and keeping speed constant.
Endorsing the initiative, Mr. Mullings noted that green energy is a priority on the national agenda. He added that the Government is moving ahead with plans for the country’s energy policy, which he said, was tabled in Parliament on Tuesday (Dec. 9).
“So, we ought to encourage this (green cars initiative), and do whatever we can. I wish to encourage everyone to support this,” Mr. Mullings implored.
Speaking at the launch, JAA General Manager, Alan Beckford, expressed the hope that the campaign will help to raise the level of environmental awareness, and enhance road safety in Jamaica.