• The decision to commence the pilot program aligns with global trends.
• This is a significant step towards enhancing the country’s energy security.
• Ethanol blending has potential to offer several benefits to Zambia’s energy sector.
An Energy Expert says government’s decision to commence a pilot program for blending ethanol is expected to reduce fuel prices by approximately 3%, providing relief to consumers and businesses.
Engineer Boniface Zulu tells Money FM News that this is a significant step towards enhancing the country’s energy security and mitigating the impact of fluctuating international oil prices.
Engineer Zulu says with fuel consumption standing at approximately 30 million litres monthly, and no subsidies on petroleum products, the country has faced instability and unpredictability in transportation costs, negatively impacting the economy.
“The recent increase in fuel prices has further exacerbated the situation, making the need for alternative solutions more pressing. The commencement of the pilot program for blending ethanol is therefore a proactive measure by the Zambian government to address the challenges posed by the country’s overdependence on imported petroleum products.”
“The decision to commence the pilot program aligns with global trends in the use of ethanol as a renewable and domestically produced transportation fuel. Ethanol blending has been successfully implemented in various countries, contributing to reduced carbon emissions and increased energy security. The move is also in line with the global shift towards sustainable energy solutions and the promotion of biofuels to reduce dependence on fossil fuels,” Engineer Zulu stated.
He noted that Ethanol blending has potential to offer several benefits to Zambia’s energy sector, as the introduction of anhydrous ethanol as a blending component can help cushion the country against fluctuations in international oil prices, thereby enhancing the security of fuel supply.
Recently, Cabinet allowed oil marketing companies that are ready to start producing pure ethanol to undertake a six month pilot ethanol blending programme.
Meanwhile, Engineer Zulu stated that the lifting of the export ban on some grades of gasoline by Russia could also have an impact on Zambia’s fuel pump prices.
“The ban had led to a gasoline glut in Russia, resulting in a low season for gasoline sales. The lifting of the ban could lead to an increase in gasoline exports, which could help stabilize global gasoline prices and, in turn, reduce fuel pump prices in Zambia,” he said.
He however said the lifting of the ban is not guaranteed to have an immediate impact on fuel pump prices in Zambia, as the country’s fuel prices are also affected by other factors such as taxes, transportation costs, and exchange rates.