Motorists will have to fork out a little more to purchase diesel after government banned the importation of Diesel 500 parts per million (ppm) and directed all fuel dealers to adopt Diesel 50 ppm instead.
The ban is with effect from May 1, 2018.
Diesel 50 – a low sulphur fuel that contains 50ppm compared to 500ppm in regular diesel – is marginally more expensive, with its price ranging about 1,5 percent more on the Zimbabwean market.
However, government hopes the new legislation will go a long way towards environmental protection and embracing cleaner fuels.
Low sulphur diesel significantly contributes to reduced emissions of particulate matter into the atmosphere from vehicles’ exhaust fumes.
In a Government Gazette published on Friday, Energy minister Simon Khaya Moyo moved to amend the Petroleum Act.
“Notice is hereby given that the Minister of Energy and Power Development, after consultation with the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera), has adopted the amended ZWS751:2012 9 (Automative Diesel Fuel) as the standard for diesel 50 ppm and that with effect from 1st January, 2018, all fuel importers shall be required to import only Diesel 50ppm into the country,” he said.
He added: “Diesel 50 ppm has much lower sulphur content and reduces vehicular emissions.
“The consequence of the adoption of the amended ZWS751:2012 is that Diesel 500 will be phased out progressively over a period of four months and by the 1st of May 2018, no fuel licensee shall be allowed to import, distribute or sell any diesel other than Diesel 50 ppm.”
This comes as Zera sampled the quality of diesel 50 on the market and found it compliant with Standards Association of Zimbabwe’s ZWS 751 diesel quality standard.
In its assessment of Diesel 50, the Authority said Diesel 50 is used world-wide in most developed countries, including our neighbouring countries South Africa and Botswana, while most European countries have already moved to using diesel with 10ppm sulphur as they escalate their drive to reduce harmful exhaust emissions by using cleaner fuels.
“Diesel 50 has much better combustion quality than regular diesel because of its high cetane number.
“Diesel 50 therefore burns much more efficiently resulting in great potential for improved fuel consumption and engine performance to be realised,” Zera said, adding “using regular diesel in vehicles or equipment designed to use diesel 50 can result in diesel particulate filter damage, early fuel filter blockages, damage to fuel pump and injectors.
“All these problems lead to vehicle driveability problems and are expensive to rectify.”