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Cenox Wins Over Imitation Gasoline Controversy

Posted November. 20, 2003 22:56,   


A local court on Thursday ruled that a controversial fuel, Cenox, is not an imitation gasoline product prohibited under the Petroleum Business Act. Dispute over the sale of Cenox is, however, likely to continue as the court said that the ban on the sale of Cenox is still effective.

On Thursday, Judge Park Dong-young of the Seoul District Court declared the CEO of Free Flight Ltd, who was indicted on charges of selling “quasi-gasoline Cenox, as not guilty of criminal charges.

In this regard, fierce resistance is likely to escalate as the Korea Oil Station Association recently submitted a petition that threatened to stage an industry-wide strike if the court did not ban the sale of the product.

The court ruling read that “There are yet no clear provisions that clearly stipulate criteria for automobile fuels and additives. Hence, the Article 26 of the Petroleum Business Act that bans sale of “bogus gasoline” has a limit in interpretation. As for Cenox, since the manufacturer is not ambiguous, and development and the resulting screening procedures thoroughly passed legal criteria, Cenox can not be said to be a bogus gasoline.” The court also added in a statement that “As Cenox passed most of qualifications for automobile fuel quality evaluation tests, even if current relevant laws are ambiguous, it is improper for the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy (MOCIE) to ban the sale of Cenox.”

The court, however, declared, “This ruling does not mean Cenox is an innovative and superior product, and as the MOCIE’s ban on the manufacture and sale of Cenox is still effective, the sale of Cenox is still illegal.”

Thus, “The manufacturer of Cenox may claim a legal suit against the order of the MOCIE, but it is rather a problem that should be resolved through amending the law.”

Cenox had been sold since last June after being approved by the Ministry of Environment (MOE) as an “additive” but it became a subject of strict control after the MOCIE ruled Cenox as a “imitation gasoline.” The sale of Cenox has been virtually stopped since the MOE declared revised enforcement regulations in August designed to limit the volume of the additive to automobile fuel to below 1 percent.

The court also declared a 60-year old man, identified as Eum, innocent on the day. He was indicted for manufacturing and selling quasi-gasoline “LP Power.”

Soo-Kyung Kim skkim@donga.com