The Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, has directed relevant authorities to consider the proposal on low-grade fuel put forth by the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA). The low-grade fuel under consideration is 80-82 RON petrol to be made available for motorcycles. There are two main reasons behind considering low-grade fuel for bikes. The first one is to provide cheaper fuel for the owners of motorcycles as oil prices are consistently rising. The second one is to make old refineries functional in the country. This will be conducive to employment opportunities in the oil sector as well. Furthermore, using low-grade fuel will reduce the import bill of Pakistan as additives to improve the fuel quality are being imported currently.
The introduction of low-grade fuel will most definitely provide relief in the short run; however, in the long term, people will most probably experience engine failures. Engine failure can cost a lot to fix, and the money saved today on fuel will not be sufficient to get engines fixed tomorrow. Seeing it from this perspective, the introduction of low-grade fuel is not a viable move in the long run.
Moreover, oil marketing companies are opposing this proposal as they will have to make necessary adjustments to retail outlets and storage facilities across the country. At the retails outlets, they will have to install separate nozzles. At storage facilities, oil marketing companies will have to store the low-grade fuel separately. The automobile sector, under the leadership of Pakistan Automotive Manufacturers Association (PAMA), has also strongly opposed the low-grade fuel proposal.
To pursue international standards on fuel quality, Pakistan made a shift from 87 RON to 92 RON fuel about two years ago. Fuels with higher RON (Research Octane Number) are better in quality as they are cleaner to burn and cause less pollution. According to PAMA, introducing a low-grade fuel (80-82 RON) will be a massive setback in the effort to streamline the oil sector of Pakistan with international standards.
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