Costa Rica
Press Release

RECOPE will sell gasoline with ethanol to reduce emissions

Bnamericas Published: Thursday, April 04, 2019

As a contribution to the process of decarbonisation of the economy, at the end of May RECOPE will make available to the market a new gasoline that initially will contain 8% ethanol in its formulation, although the standard allows adding between 5% and 10%; In this way, an oxygenating agent is added that contributes to reduce CO2 emissions, which will result in an improvement for public health and environmental protection.

Between the changes it emphasizes that it will be a colorless fuel, since no dye will be put to him; and it will be called ECO95, in reference to its contribution to air quality and octane number, a specification that defines the fuel's anti-knock characteristic.

As part of the process to start the sale of the new product, RECOPE requested the setting of the price of gasoline ECO95, which considers the definition of the international reference price, for a mixture with 8% ethanol, and the total operating margin. The proposal is subject to the approval of the ARESEP and, for the established conditions, it would mean a reduction of ₡ 7 per liter, with respect to the price of super gasoline.

This mixture makes it a new product with its own quality specifications, defined in the Costa Rican technical standard INTE E1-2016; maintaining all the characteristics of conventional 95 octane gasoline for high compression engines, so it replaces Super gasoline.

It is important to note that Plus 91 gasoline retains its current formulation, without the addition of ethanol. It is up to the users to verify the required octane number, referring to the vehicle's manual.

Among the benefits is that the ETHANOL is a renewable fuel and therefore contributes in the total cycle to the reduction of the carbon footprint, at the same time as it allows limiting the dependence on oil, by incorporating alternative fuels to the energy matrix, which is one of the goals of the National Energy Plan.

In addition, ethanol as an oxygenating agent will replace methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE), which is an additive that is more polluting and harmful to human health.

RECOPE has been carrying out tests on engines, both in the laboratory and in own vehicles that are already using the product. This has allowed to verify that in cars that receive adequate maintenance, the mixture provides a performance similar to that of conventional gasoline and greater efficiency in combustion is obtained, since ethanol contains an oxygen molecule that makes the engine invest less energy in capturing air from outside.

This improvement in combustion by adding oxygenates reduces the total hydrocarbon emissions by approximately 20%. In addition, the CO2 emissions of ethanol are up to 30% less than conventional gasoline. This ensures cleaner air for people and the environment.

On the other hand, the measurements made indicate that it improves the performance of the torque in all the revolutions and therefore in the power, which allows to travel at a higher speed; while the consumption remains the same.

Therefore, for a better use it is recommended to follow the maintenance practices indicated by the vehicle manufacturer and during the use of this fuel, take into account the following:

· Filters: The solvent property of ethanol helps to remove the dirt adhered to the gas tank. In low mixes such as the one that RECOPE is going to make, the product helps keep fuel injection and transit systems clean. To take better advantage of this property, the filters must be maintained, making the necessary changes.

· Seals and packaging: Natural materials such as rubber used in packaging of some vehicles, especially older ones, can be degraded in the presence of alcohol. In addition, manufacturers have updated the materials for more resistant ones that guarantee quality, in the presence of the mixtures with ethanol.

· Water: It is important to check the tightness of the fuel tank lid and that it does not leak, keeping the same care as with conventional fuel.

It should be noted that Costa Rica follows the global trend in fuels, since ethanol has been in the energy matrix of many countries for years, including the United States, Jamaica, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay; as well as India, Japan, China and much of Europe. Even in many places the use of ethanol is mandatory.

Energy consumption and pollution

The demand for commercial energy in Costa Rica is made up of 63% of petroleum derivatives, 20% of electricity, 9% biomass, 6% firewood and 2% charcoal and others. This behavior, where consumption of petroleum products prevails, is concentrated in the Transportation Sector with 79%, in the Industrial Sector 9% and 11% in other sectors.

That is why about 60% of the emissions of polluting gases come from the Transport Sector. It is for this reason that RECOPE, as responsible for satisfying the demand for petroleum derivatives, is a fundamental actor in the implementation of policies aimed at reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, with improvements in the quality of the fuels that contribute to reducing the risk factors in the health of people.

Increasing demand

To this is added the fact that in recent years, the national demand for fuels shows an average increase of 2% per year, mainly due to the growth of the automotive fleet in the country.

In fact, 2018 sales of gasoline and diesel 50 accounted for 74.7% (2,528,939 m³) of RECOPE's total sales. Specifically Gasoline consumption (Plus 91 + Super) represented 38.3% (1,295,694 m³), reaching the first place in the sales of the year. The increase in sales compared to 2017 was 0.8% (10,336,000 liters). The relationship between the two gasolines in 2018 was 49% Plus 91 and 51% Super Gasoline.

This Recope release was published using machine translation.

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