Bolivia plans E10 mandate in 2018

By Tim Albrecht | December 29, 2017

Bolivia announced a plan this week to implement an ethanol blend mandate for gasoline in 2018. The mandate would begin at a 10 percent blend and increase as the industry increases production capacity in Bolivia. The country’s plan has the potential benefit of $1.5 billion in investments and the creation of 100,000 jobs for the Bolivian ethanol industry.

Bolivia Vice President Garcia Linera made the announcement at the Ethanol: Planting Energy conference sponsored by the U.S. Grains Council. Linera said he hopes to establish the mandate immediately so implementation can begin by the next harvest season.

Linera touted the mandate as complying with Bolivia President Morales’ four guiding principles: protect the environment, import substitution, economic growth and wealth redistribution. The blend mandate will have a positive impact of 0.2 percent on Bolivia’s GDP, while the industrial GDP would increase by 2.2. percent and the agricultural GDP by 3.0 percent.

The Bolivian government believes that increasing gasoline octane from the current 85 to 88 will allow for the marketing of a new and better product which would not be subject to subsidies.

Bolivia produces ethanol out of sugar cane. There are seven sugar mills in Bolivia of which five, representing 85 percent of the milling capacity, are in Santa Cruz. The planted area of sugar cane is 150,000 hectares (370,658 acres) with an average yield of 50 metric tons (55 tons) of cane produced per hectare. If the Bolivian industry were to fully supply the demand generated by a 10 percent ethanol blend mandate, it would have to increase the planted area by 180,000 hectares and increase its yields to 80 MT per hectare.

Industry estimates that the investment required to fully implement the blend mandate is $1.1 billion dedicated to developing new sugar cane fields and renovating existing ones, and $400,000 million dedicated to building and upgrading mills. With 1.7 million cars, Bolivia’s potential ethanol market with a 10 percent mandate is 100 million liters.