Ministry to probe gasohol shortage

Ministry to probe gasohol shortage

Motorists complain oil is sold out

A sign displays the prices of diesel, gasoline and LPG at a Bangkok petrol station on Tuesday. (Photo: Somchai Poomlard)
A sign displays the prices of diesel, gasoline and LPG at a Bangkok petrol station on Tuesday. (Photo: Somchai Poomlard)

The Energy Ministry vows to act against oil retailers illegally stockpiling the fuel following complaints about oil being sold out at petrol stations after a state policy to cut the prices of gasohol 91 and gasohol 95.

Petrol stations started reducing the price of gasohol 91 by 2.5 baht a litre and gasohol 95 by 1 baht a litre on the morning of Nov 7.

Complaints were lodged with the ministry after many petrol stations were reportedly sold out of these two types of fuel in only a couple of hours after the new prices took effect, said Pongpol Yodmuangcharoen, spokesman for the ministry.

In their complaints, many motorists questioned how the petrol stations could run out of gasohol so quickly.

Officials are investigating the matter to determine whether crimes were committed, including sellers hoarding fuel, said Mr Pongpol.

"The ministry assigned officials to closely monitor gasohol sales at petrol stations countrywide," he said.

If oil retailers are found guilty of violating the law, they can be fined up to 140,000 baht or face a maximum jail term of seven years. Motorists who suspect gasohol is being sold in an unusual manner can notify the Department of Energy Business.

The cabinet resolved on Oct 31 to reduce the prices of gasohol 91 and gasohol 95 by one baht a litre through an excise tax reduction and asked the Energy Ministry to cut the price of gasohol 91 by another 1.5 baht a litre via a price subsidy programme under the Oil Fuel Fund.

Gasohol 91 and 95 are also known as gasohol E10, a mix of gasoline and 10% ethanol. The numbers 91 and 95 refer to different octane ratings.

As of Oct 29, the fund reported a loss of 74.2 billion baht, resulting from subsidising the price of diesel, consisting of 28.9 billion baht, and liquefied petroleum gas at 45.3 billion, according to Prasert Sinsukprasert, energy permanent secretary.

Other types of gasoline and gasohol receive different rates of reduction. Gasohol E20, which is blended with 20% ethanol, and gasohol E85, which is composed of 85% ethanol, had their prices reduced by 0.8 baht a litre. The price of unleaded gasoline 95 is reduced by one baht a litre.

The scheme for discounted prices continues until Jan 31 next year.

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