Published On : Tue, Sep 21st, 2021

Ethanol-petrol blending causing breakdown of vehicles?

Nagpur: Does your vehicle break down frequently, especially after servicing? There are umpteen incidents of breakdown of two-wheelers in the rainy season after filling petrol. The mechanics, after checking, say that water is being seen in tanks instead of petrol. On the other hand, petroleum dealers have claimed that improper blending of ethanol with petrol by oil marketing companies (OMCs) is causing problems for vehicle users.

According to the dealers, ethanol absorbs moisture from the atmosphere and when it comes into contact with the water in petrol tanks, it forms a distinct layer and settles at the bottom. This leads to the vehicles stalling or facing difficulty while starting. This happens largely after monsoon or servicing when water has entered the fuel tank.

Now-a-days, petrol is being blended with 10% ethanol. This blending is being done by the oil marketing companies in their terminals and is not something new and is being used the world-over. There have been incidents of vehicle owners questioning water in the petrol and breakdown of their vehicles.

Adulteration at petrol pumps:
There are over 550 fuel outlets run by three state-owned petroleum companies and two private companies in six districts of Vidarbha. The fuel to the pumps of Indian Oil and Hindustan Petroleum is supplied by depots situated at Dahegaon in Wardha district. The Borkhed depot supplies petrol and diesel to 254 pumps of Bharat Petroleum Company in Vidarbha. Around 5 lakh litres of petrol is supplied daily. In all these depots, ethanol is blended with petrol proportionately with monitoring by personnel-based systems. Approximately, six lakh litres of petrol is sold in Nagpur city and district daily through 250 pumps in the district including 95 in the city.

After the vehicles were detected with problems, customers blamed petrol pump owners for adulterating petrol with water, even when the two were unmixable. However, an office-bearer of the Petrol Dealers Association said condensation in petrol tanks and water ingress led to these issues. Earlier, water would only settle at the bottom of the tank, but it is now reacting with ethanol, leading to vehicles stalling. Though the blending has been done since 2015, complaints had begun now because the availability of ethanol was seasonal and not through the year.

However, an OMC official denied the charges and claimed that the problem happened if petrol dealers did not follow the standard operating processes (SOP) or if water entered the fuel tank while washing the vehicle. It is scientifically proven that up to 10% of ethanol in petrol is perfectly safe, he said, adding that the dealer should check for water in the fuel tank through a water-finding scale.