NEW DELHI: State-run Hindustan Petroleum is to start selling ethanol-blended petrol in Ladakh, becoming the first state-run fuel retailer to supply the cleaner version of gasoline in the frontier area.
A company statement on Thursday said the fuel has been stocked up at its Leh depot, situated at an altitude of 11,500 feet for supplying the company’s pumps in the region. The depot was commissioned in 2018 with a capacity of 4,450 kilo-litre and meets the requirement of the armed forces and civilian population.
HPCL was also the first public sector fuel retailer to start selling ethanol-blended petrol from its outlets in Jammu & Kashmir.
On June 5, prime minister Narendra Modi put ethanol at the centre of India’s fight against climate change by advancing the date for 20% blending of petrol by 5 years to 2025. He also launching a pilot project at three Pune petrol pumps for running vehicles fully on the ‘swadeshi’ fuel.
A roadmap prepared jointly by the oil ministry and government think-tank Niti Ayog for developing an ethanol economy in the country reckons 20% blending of petrol with ethanol will result in an annual saving of $5 billion, or Rs 30,000 crore, in India’s oil import bill. India’s net petroleum import bill stood at $551 billion in 2020-21.
For the uninitiated, ethanol is ethyl alcohol – also referred to as ‘drinking alcohol’ – made from molasses, grains and farm waste. The pandemic has made ethanol a part of our everyday life as one of the alcohol options for hand sanitisers. It is less polluting and offers equivalent efficiency at a lower cost than petrol by raising the octane level. Petrol 20% laced with ethanol is known as ‘E20’ and ethanol for automotive use is known as ‘E100’.

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