The Refinadora Costarricense de Petróleo (RECOPE) confirmed that it will sell start gasoline with ethanol under the name of ‘Eco 95’, to replace super, starting May 29, 2019.
This fuel will be ¢7 colones cheaper than the current super, with a retail price of ¢613.05 colones per liter (subject to the approval of the Public Services Regulatory Authority – Aresep).
This mixture will reduce the emission of carbon dioxide by helping the environment.
It (Eco 95) will be a colorless fuel with 8% ethanol. RECOPE says the measurements that were made indicate that it has more power which allows traveling at a higher speed and consumption remains the same and that well maintained vehicles will not have problems and will have better performance.
The Ethanol will be made from sugar cane or corn.
RECOPE (the refinery that refines nothing) assures that Plus 91 or ‘regular’ gasoline retains its current formulation, without the addition of ethanol and that it is up to the users to verify the required octane number, referring to the vehicle’s manual.
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. Including, in many places the use of ethanol is mandatory.
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 2018, sales of fuels (gasoline and diesel) accounted for 74.7% (2,528,939 m³) of RECOPE’s total sales.
The increase in sales compared to 2017 was 0.8% (10,336,000 liters). The relationship between the two types of gasoline in 2018 was 49% Plus 91 and 51% Super Gasoline.
To prevent problems, the RECOPE announced three protocols for users.
In relation to seals and gaskets, for example, the protocol warns that natural-type materials in these can be degraded by alcohol. There would be no damage to vehicles and manufacturers that have updated the materials for more resistant ones.
The refinery recommends drivers keep their vehicle “well tuned”.
RECOPE recommends users of ethanol 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 use, the product helps keep fuel injection and distribution clean. To take better advantage of this property, the filters must be well maintained, making the necessary changes.
- Seals and rubber: Natural materials such as rubber used in some vehicles, especially older ones, can be degraded in the presence of alcohol. In newer vehicles, manufacturers have updated materials to be more resistant ones that guarantee quality, in the presence of the mixtures with ethanol.
- Fuel cap: 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.
Alejandro Muñoz, Recope’s president RECOPE, pointed out that, in Costa Rica, at least 80% of the vehicle fleet should use regular and not super.
Imported at the start
Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, Minister of Environment and Energy, clarified that the plan to decarbonize the national economy aims for ethanol to be purchased locally in the medium and long term. This means that, in the short term, at the beginning of the plan, it will be imported.
“This is definitely not a matter of only buying ethanol at the best price but how we produce it. I am interested in sugarcane producers producing ethanol at a good price for the RECOPE mix, but at the same time leaving behind bad agricultural practices. This should be a single package but, for now, the issue of price, emissions balance, efficiency, are the starting point,” explained Rodriguez.