The state-run Chinese Petroleum Corporation of Taiwan said it would gradually phase out its premium gasoline and replace it with 98-octane unleaded gasoline in 2000 to help reduce pollution. All production and selling of the leaded premium gasoline would be stopped beginning 2000, a spokesperson for the state oil corporation said by telephone. Chinese Petroleum would introduce the new 98-octane unleaded gasoline beginning June 1, 1999 the spokesperson said. "Both premium and 98 unleaded gasoline will co-exist for six months before the leaded product is removed from the market," he said.
"The phase-out is in line with the requirement by the environmental authorities," the spokesperson said. Taiwan's Environmental Protection Administration has said that all leaded gasoline be eliminated from the market by the end of 1999. The official said the state oil corporation had already started producing 98 unleaded through the blending of imported oil and other materials to prepare for the June deadline. Prices of the 98 unleaded have yet to be set, he said. Chinese Petroleum, which raised local oil product prices by an average of 2.8 per cent on May 11, 1999 supplies premium gasoline at us $0.51 per litre, 95-unleaded at us $0.49 and 92-unleaded at us $0.47.