To protect consumers from adulterated petroleum products, the Department of Energy-Oil Industry Management Bureau (DOE-OIMB) has conducted a series of inspections of several retail outlets/gas stations around Metro Manila and Cavite, Rizal, Batangas, and Quezon.
“We have to protect our consumers from buying and using adulterated petroleum products, hence we are conducting onsite inspections,” Energy Sec. Alfonso G. Cusi said.
“We cannot allow the oil players, especially illegal peddlers, to shortchange our people by selling them adulterated petroleum products,” Cusi said.
From January to November 2016, a total of 924 retail outlets/gas stations were inspected by the DOE-OIMB. In the inspections conducted, 46 gasoline stations were found to have methanol blend ranging from one 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/gas stations that only have one to five existing service stations.
According to the DOE-OIMB, the methanol content as an innate component in bioethanol does not mean allowing the methanol to be blended in finished gasoline products.
The Philippine National Standards (PNS)/DOE QS 007:2014 standard for Bioethanol (E100) specifies the limit for E100 at a maximum of 0.5 percent per volume or an expected maximum allowable methanol content of 0.05 percent per volume in E10.
As provided in the Biofuels Law, E10 blended gasoline is currently being sold in the market.
“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 said.
“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,” Cusi added.
Cusi said blending of 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.
The DOE is also requesting a meeting with the Samahan sa Pilipinas ng mga Industriya Kimika or Chemical Industries Association of the Philippines to identify local entities using methanol in their operations.
If oil companies are proven to have adulterated petroleum products, penalties will be imposed on them in accordance with the provisions of the Retail Rules and Biofuels Law.
The DOE will continue its monitoring of gas stations to address the concern and asked the public to be vigilant and report any irregularities to authorities.