The Department of Energy (DOE) has conducted inspections of several retail outlets and gasoline stations around Metro Manila and the provinces of Cavite, Rizal, Batangas and Quezon to identify which outlets have adulterated petroleum products.
Of the 924 outlets inspected by the DOE’s Oil Industry Management Bureau (DOE-OIMB), 46 were found using methanol blend in their products, which “can harm motor engines due to its corrosive characteristics.”
The methanol blend found in these stations ranged from 1 to 16 percent volume. Three belonged to major players, 18 to independent players and 25 were white stations, or retail outlets or gas tations with only one to five existing service stations.
“We have to protect our consumers from buying and using adulterated petroleum products, hence we are conducting onsite inspections,” DOE Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi said.
“We cannot allow the oil players, especially illegal peddlers, to short-change our people by selling them adulterated petroleum products.”
The DOE said 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. Under 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,” he added.
The DOE has requested for a meeting with the Chemical Industries Association of the Philippines to identify local entities using methanol in their operations.
Regulatory bodies like the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) do no monitor the importation and sale of unregulated substances like methanol.
Companies proven to have adulterated petroleum products will face penalties in accordance with the provisions of the Retail Rules and Biofuels Law.
Read the Department of Energy’s statement here.