From next November, petrol vehicles in Colombia will burn a mix of 10% alcohol added to both ‘regular’ (88 RON) and ‘extra’ (92 RON) fuel.

The move, signed into national law in 2001, will be implemented in the country’s southwest area and ‘Coffee Zone’ petrol stations, as a first step, affecting about 450,000 vehicles.

The ethanol additive comes from the local sugar industry, mainly in the Cauca river valley. It will be mixed in a 10% proportion by national petroleum company Ecopetrol and the petrol will be distributed by Chevron Texaco, ExxonMobil and Terpel. It is estimated that distributors will deliver 300,000 to 400,000 litres a day.
The mixture will arrive in capital city Bogotá next year, when full ethanol production reaches a million litres a day.

It is now five years since compressed natural gas – CNG was available nationwide. In this time, in Bogotá alone, over 75,000 vehicles have been converted, saving 60% over the cost of running on petrol.

Juan Vargas