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JIS News

Minister of Energy, Clive Mullings has revealed that the E10 hotline is in “full swing” and that a number of Jamaicans have been calling to get information on the soon to be introduced bio-fuel.
“The hotline is up and running. People are calling from as early as 6:45 in the morning, making enquiries and I hope more persons will call to get information,” he said in an interview with JIS News. The E10 hotline number is 1888-429-5310 and is open between 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. from Mondays to Fridays.
Additionally, to ensure that the public is cognisant of and understands the different issues associated with the E10 fuel, the E10 team, which comprises representatives from the Ministry of Energy, the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ), and Petrojam, has produced and is distributing an E10 questions and answers brochure.
When asked “What if I use E10 and go out of town where none is available, can I top up with regular gasoline?” the brochure responds “Yes, you can top up with regular gasoline as Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether (MTBE) and E10 gasoline can be mixed”.
In terms of compatibility the main concern is the effect, if any that the E10 fuel will have on older cars.
The brochure states that: “In general, 1980 and later model years should not experience problems with E10. Fuel systems in the 1975 to 1980 model years were upgraded, but not to the same extent as later models. Pre-1975 models may have fuel components that are sensitive to E10 such as fuel line hoses, gaskets, and seals. If not already changed, these components may require replacement although the useful life of such components would have likely been exceeded already”.
However, to ensure absolute certainty regarding compatibility, Minister Mullings is still encouraging motorists to check with their manufacturers and dealers before using E10.
Other questions asked refer to the benefits to be derived from the E10 fuel and assurances regarding its quality.
With respect to the benefits, the brochure lists less ground water contamination than MTBE gasoline (regular), reduction in tailpipe emissions, and states that sugar cane derived ethanol is a renewable fuel and that greater quantities of ethanol reduces the demand for imported fossil fuels, thereby saving the country foreign exchange.
Furthermore, it states that ethanol burns cooler and cleaner in engines therefore reducing the need for fuel injector cleaners. Dirty filters can reduce efficiency by approximately three per cent, it said, therefore, the scouring properties of ethanol cleans filters as an added benefit. In addition, there is the potential for job creation especially in the sugar industry.
On the critical issue of quality, the question is asked: “How do I know that I am not getting “bad” gas? The E10 team highlights a number of safeguards that are in place to protect consumers. These include: the Petroleum Quality Act, which sets specifications for all gasoline products that are sold in Jamaica; random sample and testing of gasoline across the island by the Bureau of Standards, and the Ministry of Energy, to verify quality; quality analysis carried out by the Petrojam refinery on every batch of gasoline and ethanol used to produce E10 at its internationally certified lab; and calibration of Petrojam blendskids to ensure accuracy.
Other safeguards include: strict stewardship practices carried out by the haulage contractors and service station operators, to ensure quality, including, regularly dipping the E10 with water finding paste to detect any water abnormality, visual inspection of the product, and mixing cylinder test to determine if there is water contamination and phase separation. Service stations will use special (10 micron) filters when dispensing E10, thereby protecting the customer from receiving water or debris in the gasoline.
E10 or 10 per cent ethanol in 90 per cent 87 octane, will be introduced on a phased basis starting tomorrow (November 1), with a launch at the Petcom, Portmore service station. Jamaica will join a number of developed countries such as the United States of America, Canada, Sweden, and Brazil that uses ethanol blended fuel.
Ethanol is the highest rated octane fuel on the market as it extends gasoline, does not leave gummy deposits, and keeps the vehicle’s fuel system clean for optimal performance. Ethanol is now accepted worldwide as the most compatible, economically and environmentally feasible replacement for MTBE.