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Ethanol manufacturers have welcomed the recent Empowered Group of Ministers’ (EGoM’s) decision to fix a price of Rs 27 per litre for ethanol that will be blended with petrol.

The price has been fixed for only six months as against the manufacturers’ demand for three years; even if this was less than what the sugar lobby had been demanding, they are quite happy with this price.

Not so the oil companies which are already bleeding from under-recoveries. They wanted a price of Rs 23-24, something what they pay for imported ethanol.

It may be recalled by those in the know that The price to buy ethanol for blending was set by the government t Rs. 21.5 per litre in the tenders floated in 2006.

Ethanol blending for gasoline had been a kind of joke for the past four years. Way back in 2006, the government mandated a 5% blending of ethanol with petrol but the oil marketing companies did not comply citing scarcity of ethanol availability as the reason.

Let’s hope this price revives the fuel ethanol industry to some extent. As you might know investments worth hundreds of crores in ethanol factories remain idle as the ethanol producers were unwilling to operate (can’t blame them!) at buying prices of Rs 21.