Cheaper RON 80-82 petrol to hurt motorcycle industry

PAMA DG says it will encourage mixing of low-grade RON with fuel for cars, other vehicles

Shahram Haq May 28, 2019

LAHORE: The plan to import cheaper RON 80-82 petrol in response to a unilateral proposal without consulting the motorcycle manufacturing industry would reverse growth of the fast-progressing industry, said Pakistan Automotive Manufacturers Association (Pama) Director General Abdul Waheed Khan.

PAMA, in a letter to Standing Committee on Petroleum Chairman Senator Mohsin Aziz, expressed its reservations about the plan.

Khan referred to the meeting where the standing committee was briefed about a proposal for use of low-quality RON fuel (80-82) in motorcycles. “Neither the subject meeting was in our knowledge nor were we invited to attend the meeting, which showed that the industry was not given an opportunity to present its point of view,” he said.

Use of low-grade fuel in bikes to help slash import bill

“Our members consider that this policy initiative will be a huge step backward in a longstanding national goal of achieving international standards,” stated the Pama DG and added that the availability of low-quality fuel at lower prices would encourage its mixing with fuels for cars and other such vehicles.

That, in turn, would pose challenges to the entire supply chain. The low RON fuel would be distributed by unscrupulous elements, resulting in a host of problems for the end-consumers, he added.

Also, the engines of motorcycles were designed to efficiently work on at least RON 87 and 90 or higher-grade fuel and if the low-grade fuel was used, the engine knocking would not only cause wear and tear, but would also increase the maintenance cost of the users, he pointed out.

Moreover, the emission levels of carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide and hydrocarbons would not be in line with national emission standards and the per-litre mileage would decrease drastically, putting additional burden on the consumers.

“The country has gone to better fuel quality to improve emissions and achieve better standards. But instead of going to even better specifications, such proposals will result in roll-back of all efforts and investments made to upgrade vehicles,” said the Pama official.

“This recent development has worried our members about the policy direction as such a shift in policies conveys the regressive stance of our government that not only lacks consistency but is rather directionless,” he said.

Upgrade of refineries unlikely in short run

“Pakistan being the fifth largest producer of two-wheelers in the world and having the potential to be an exporter of two-wheelers needs consistency of policy. We cannot shift back and forth and end up producing motorcycles that no one else in the world wants to buy,” Khan said.

Talking about the basic premise of the proposed policy decision, he said, “in support of the proposal, unsubstantiated data and quasi-scientific methods have been used, while prevalent laws of the country and our international obligations have been ignored.” “Hence, the proposed policy direction may eventually attract negative feedback of the international community,” he added.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 28th, 2019.

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