The gas companies' recent motions to join the alternative fuel bandwagon often leaves motorists scratching their collective heads on how to make heads or tails of their respective "green" brews. More often than not, the majority are rather skeptical about the different environment-friendly amalgamations, unsure if they are a perfect match to their respective vehicles' engines in the long run despite the myriad benefits offered.

Petron knows all too well that Juan de la Cruz' old habit of relying on pure petroleum will create emissions levels toxic enough to provide carcinogens to the latter's next two generations (or more), and recently released to the public a new earth-pleasing petrol blend "Petron E10 Premium" that hopes to change public perception of alternative fuels. Made from 90 percent unleaded petrol and 10 percent ethanol, Petron's newest gasoline creation is the company's response to Republic Act 9367 (the Biofuels Law), which seeks to reduce dependence on imported fuels with due regard to the protection of public health, the environment and natural ecosystems consistent with the country's sustainable economic growth that would expand opportunities for livelihood.

This mandates the use of biofuels as a measure to develop and utilize indigenous renewable and sustainably-sourced clean energy sources to reduce dependence on imported oil. Within two years from its effectivity, all liquid fuels for motors and engines sold in the Philippines shall contain locally-sourced biofuels components of at least five percent bioethanol in the annual total volume of gasoline fuel actually sold and distributed by each and every oil company in the country.

Now you (as a motorist) may ask, "What benefits will this strange brew give me and my vehicle?" Petron claims that aside from the macro gains "such as bigger local employment opportunities (due to the local manufacturing of ethanol) and reduced dependence on imported petroleum" its E10 Premium improves engine performance, getting rid quicker of accumulated contaminants. The efficient burning cuts down on unburned hydrocarbons from a vehicle's exhaust pipe, one of the biggest contributors to air pollution and global warming. According to Petron's technical department representatives, E10 Premium reduces a vehicle's greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent and reduces carbon monoxide emissions by 45 percent. Petron's technical department representatives also claim that the new concoction has no carcinogens such as benzene and sulfur - which contributes heavily to cancer-forming cells in various body parts.

For those who still are concerned with the compatibility of E10 Premium with their vehicles (particularly 2000 and older), Petron claims that it may be used in a majority of electronically fuel injected four-wheelers, but recommends that 2004-present automobile engines have the best setups and on board diagnostics to handle the fuel. Carbureted engines, motorboat/banca engines and motorcycle engines may not be able to handle the fuel, but it is best advised to consult a professional mechanic or the necessary manufacturer, importer, or dealer for the fuel's compatibility. Lastly, the fuel can be loaded into the fuel tank without draining the remaining petrol content, but if the fuel tank hasn't been cleaned for a long time (and there's the likelihood of dirt and water), cleaning the tank is suggested.

Arguably the most appealing benefit of E10 Premium is the fact that the removal of existing engine deposits and efficient fuel burning provides power delivery similar to conventional petrol products. Although Petron claims that there have been no scientific tests on E10 Premium, a recent trip with Petron to Subic (via the Subic Clark Tarlac EXpressway or SCTEX) in an E10 Premium-fueled 2008 Toyota Vios 1.5 G showed that there was no difference in powerband entry (3400-3500 rpm) and top speed (170 kph) from the Vios 1.5 G tested previously by this writer early in the year. The same results were reported by other motoring journalists present during the event, who drove vehicles such as the 2009 Mitsubishi Lancer GT, the 2006 Toyota Yaris 1.5L A/T, the 2008 Toyota Corolla 1.6L and 1.8L, the 2006 Honda Civic 2.0S A/T, the 2006 Honda City 1.5 CVT and 1.5 M/T, the 2005 Honda Jazz 1.3L M/T and 1.3L CVT, the 2008 Nissan Serena 250E and the Nissan Grand Livina. They all claimed that there was no difficulty in powerband entry, with smooth power/torque delivery and no rough engine sounds at all points of the rev counter.

Nearly every petroleum company is on the fast track to creating petroleum that uses locally available renewable and sustainably-sourced clean energy sources, but raises concerns due to their compatibility with today?s automobiles. However, Petron's E10 Premium - with its environment friendly and performance properties - may very well be the petroleum product that will spark a new form of sugar high.