The Thai government aims to establish E20 'gasohol' as the main fuel for passenger vehicles in the second half of 2020, as it looks to reduce its dependence on imported fossil fuels.
The country's energy ministry plans to make the E20 petrol blend (95 RON), which has 20% ethanol content, available in all petrol stations nationwide by the third quarter of this year – replacing the currently available E10 (91 RON).
Gasohol uses ethanol produced mainly from cassava and sugar cane.
Thailand is the only Asian nation using ethanol as a mainstream automotive fuel. The ministry estimates there are around 3.3m E20-compatible vehicles in use at present out of a total population of around 5m petrol passenger vehicles.
Current E20 consumption is 6.5m litres daily but this is projected to rise to 12m once the new policy is implemented.
The ministry said the new policy will complement its recently launched B20 biodiesel policy which has made the blend of diesel fuel with 20% palm oil available for local operators of trucks and buses while B10 remains widely available nationwide.
Last year the Thai government announced plans to bring forward the introduction of Euro 5 standards for diesel fuel vehicles to 2023 from its previous deadline of 2025 in response to concerns over air pollution.
Vehicle sales in the country declined by 3.3% to 1,007,552 units last year from 1,041,739 units in 2018 after three years of strong growth, reflecting a sharp decline in the second half of the year.