Norman Harsono, Jakarta – President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has symbolically kicked off the mandatory use of B30 biodiesel – eight days ahead of Jan. 1, when the policy was initially scheduled to go into force.
B30 refers to a biodiesel blend containing 30 percent fuel produced from palm oil.
"We can say that this B30 policy can save us Rp 63 trillion (US$4.5 billion) in foreign exchange expenditure," he told reporters and government officials at a gas station in Jakarta on Monday.
The B30 policy, Jokowi said, was meant to increase renewable energy usage as well as to reduce burdensome oil imports – which contribute heavily to Indonesia's trade deficit – and increase domestic palm oil consumption.
Indonesia, a major palm oil producer, has been struggling to find new palm oil export markets since the European Union began slashing consumption earlier this year over sustainability and environmental concerns.
Indonesia began B30 distribution trials in November, when state-owned oil company Pertamina signed a deal with 10 biofuel producers to supply such fuel to eight depots around the country.
The company will begin selling B30 fuel at all gas stations around the archipelago starting in January.
"I have ordered Pertamina to start B40 by the end of next year. In 2021, we will start B50," the President added.