Representatives of relevant agencies and fuel trading firms in Ho Chi Minh City have met to discuss ways to boost the sale of E5 bio-fuel at more filling stations here in the city, a local newspaper reported.

There are around three months left for the city to widely distribute E5 as told by the Government, but only 29 out of 504 pumping stations retail the bio-fuel. Some traders have had no station selling this fuel since 2010, according to the Saigon Times Daily.

A report by the HCM City Department of Industry and Trade showed that since a pilot scheme for selling E5 was initiated in October 2010, a mere 29 filling stations citywide have been selling E5. Local fuel trading firms have pledged to put into service 29 more E5 filling stations towards the year-end, bringing the total number to 58.

In fact, a number of fuel trading firms in the outlying districts of Hoc Mon, Can Gio and Cu Chi have had to shut down their E5 pumps due to losses in the past four years.

Fuel trading firms are now awaiting the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s detailed instructions about a road map for E5 distribution in December to know if distributors and agents get any support and whether the price mechanism of E5 is different from that of other fuel products or not.

According to petroleum wholesalers, the selling of E5 is costlier than the standard A92 petrol and they cannot force agents to sell E5 if agents make little profit.

Le Ngoc Dao, Deputy Director of the HCM City Department of Industry and Trade, said the department would continue asking the ministry to issue a guiding document on specific mechanisms and support for firms selling the bio-fuel.

Fuel trading firms said E5 should not be available together with A92 gasoline at the same station because retailing different types of fuel would make it costly to equip extra gas pumps.

Dang Vinh Sang, General Director of Saigon Petro, said the company and other wholesalers wanted E5 to be sold like what Quang Ngai province is doing and stopping distributing A92 from December.

However, the department questioned if fuel trading firms are able to supply sufficient E5, but no fuel traders could answer that question at the meeting as they have yet to know the real demand for E5.

The department targets to have one or two filling stations selling E5 in each district towards the year-end.-VNA