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Zimbabwe to force blending to lower fuel bill

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Zimbabwe has passed new rules forcing fuel wholesalers to blend petrol with locally-produced ethanol in order to cut the country's fuel import bill, the energy minister said Thursday.

"We will make sure it's done," Energy and Power Development Minister Elton Mangoma told AFP.

"We are going towards a green economy and we are talking of biofuel. This is to save the country and the planet while at the same time we are creating our own industry."

No operator will be allowed to sell unleaded petrol unless it has been blended with a minimum of five percent locally-produced ethanol, said the government notice seen by AFP on Thursday.

Ethanol is usually produced from sugar cane in Zimbabwe.

A few companies have already been selling blended fuel but it attracts few buyers because of concerns over its quality.

Mangoma said the move was also expected to reduce the consumption of imported petrol and save scarce money for critical government projects.

Economic analysts say Zimbabwe requires $45 million (34 million euros) a month to import fuel.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130214/zimbabwe-force-blending-lower-fuel-bill