THE Department of Energy’s Oil Industry Management Bureau inspected gas stations and retail outlets in Metro Manila and the provinces of Cavite, Rizal, Batangas, and Quezon to stop the sale of adulterated petroleum products.
“We have to protect our consumers from buying and using adulterated petroleum products, hence we are conducting onsite inspections,” Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said.
“We cannot allow the oil players, especially illegal peddlers, to short-change our people by selling them adulterated petroleum products,” Cusi added.
From January to November 2016, 924 retail outlets and gas stations were inspected and 46 gasoline stations were found to have methanol blend ranging from 1 to 16 percent per volume.
Of the stations inspected, three belong to major players, 18 to independent players and 25 are white stations or retail outlets that only have one to five service stations.
The Philippine National Standards specifies the ethanol limit at a maximum of 0.5 percent per volume or an expected maximum allowable methanol content of 0.05 percent per volume in E10.
The Biofuels Law allows the sale of E10 blended gasoline.
“We are strictly monitoring the components of biofuels, because we have specific standards for them. As a blend to raw gasoline products, E10 has a very minimal methanol content, because it is inherent to the fuel but it is not intentionally blended,” Cusi explained.
“Oil companies cannot use the methanol component in E10 as their leeway to replace ethanol with methanol in their products because that’s a different scenario already,” he added.
Cusi said blending methanol with gasoline is prohibited because “it can harm motor engines due to its corrosive characteristics.”
Since methanol is not a regulated substance, regulatory bodies such as the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Philippine National Police do not monitor its importation and sale.
If oil companies are proven to have adulterated petroleum products, they will be penalized in accordance with the provisions of the Retail Rules and Biofuels Law.