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Cheap kerosene being mixed with petrol, diesel

Updated May 03, 2017

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Fuel tank of motobike is being filled with petrol at an outlet.—White Star
Fuel tank of motobike is being filled with petrol at an outlet.—White Star

KARACHI: A number of fuel stations are selling petrol and diesel adulterated with cheap kerosene. Unaware motorists are paying full prices for these substandard fuels which could damage engines of their vehicles.

The price of petrol is Rs74 and diesel Rs83 per litre while kerosene costs Rs44 per litre.

Sources believed that the mixing of kerosene could be up to 10-20 per cent.

“I am sure that this menace is not in vogue in big cities where check and balance of oil marketing companies (OMCs) is effective,” Chairman Pakistan Petroleum Dealers Association (PPDA), Abdul Sami Khan said. The mixing of kerosene with petrol is thriving in small cities where OMCs are not active.

He said the price difference between petrol/diesel and kerosene widened sharply during the last four years giving an opportunity to the dealers to play on the gap.

When questioned if the PPDA can take action in case a pump owner is found involved in mixing scam, he said, “taking action against any member is not the association’s job. Only OMCs or the government can take action against them.”

“I have been asking the government not to let price differential cross Re1 to Rs2 per litre in prices of petrol and diesel in order to eliminate this practice. However, the government cannot raise the price of kerosene so much as it would hit the common man,” he added.

Some new bike and car owners said that low mileage of petrol was a clear indicator of adulteration in the two fuels, otherwise hard to prove without lab testing. The practice must also be damaging the vehicle engine and its performance, they added.

An official in the oil industry said, “Yes, there are (unconfirmed) reports of mixing of a lower value product into a higher value product.”

“However, the source of these reports must bring it to the notice of the concerned authorities in a proper manner so that appropriate action can be taken. This is a menace that we all need to address and curb collectively,” he added.

Sources in the Pakistan State Oil (PSO) said the company has been spot testing fuels through mobile quality testing unit network since 1998.

The company is operating 24 mobile units at 17 locations across the country doing 25,000 spot checks per year. Huge penalties are imposed on pumps not maintaining quality standards, sources said.

On daily routine check at the petrol pumps, there are 1 to 1.5 per cent cases of lower flashpoint in petrol but so far no case of kerosene mixing in petrol or diesel was reported at PSO pumps.

PSO sources said kerosene availability is limited as compared to its huge demand as it is used by household consumers, vehicle mechanics and painters.

Kerosene retail price is approx Rs120-125 per litre due to huge demand in remote areas. This makes retail of kerosene more attractive than mixing, especially during kerosene shortage, PSO sources added.

Published in Dawn, May 3rd, 2017