The main reason why petrol is now cheaper than diesel in Zimbabwe is that petrol is actually just 80% petrol. The other 20% is made up of ethanol which is locally produced and thus cheaper. According to rules by the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority, that 20% blending is kind of mandatory.
The rules changed for a few hours
However for a few hours yesterday ZERA changed the rules and mandatory blending was reduced from 20% to 10%. No reason was given. However, there has been a lot of whining from some motorist who complains that blend petrol is not as good as un-blended petrol. Some speculated this could be the reason for ZERA caving in.
NOTICE TO THE FUEL SECTOR OPERATORS – BLENDING RATIO
Please be advised that the level of the blending of anhydrous ethanol with unleaded petrol has been reduced from E20 to E10.
Implementation is with immediate effectThe order for reduction of Ethanol blending to 10%
Then the rules changed back again
A few hours later in the day, the rules changed back: Mandatory blending was raised back to E20 again. The reason for the reduction of blending ratio was now given. It appears there were concerns that the current levels of ethanol in the country would not be enough to make an E20 blend earlier in the day and so the authorities wanted to ensure even blending.
Why this was not mentioned in the earlier order is not clear. However, there is a culture from Zimbabwean authorities to want to hide things they think are bad for the image of the country even when it’s not needed. A complete explanation would have cleared a lot of confusion.
NOTICE TO FUEL SECTOR LICENSES
Further to the earlier communication reducing blending levels from 20% to 10%, consultations were held with the government and ethanol suppliers indicating that the 20% blending level can be sustained.
Kindly disregard the earlier circular and continue to blend at 20%.5 December 2019Final ZERA order in the day