Jochen Wilhelm, head of the German Association of Service Stations, said in a report in daily Mitteldeutsche Zeitung on Tuesday that drivers simply do not know if their cars can handle the new E10 gas, which has a higher ethanol content.
The uncertainty is causing many to take a better-safe-than-sorry approach and fill up with the more expensive Super or SuperPlus grades, causing stocks of those fuels to run low.
Wilhelm has called on the German petroleum industry association and gas stations to provide clear information about which models can run on the Super E10 gas.
“Right now, consumers are simply left on their own,” he told the paper.
Germany's ADAC automobile association also referred to “confusion at the pump.”
“Consumers are uncertain and therefore companies need to tell customers at the gas station exactly what the situation is,” said ADAC spokesman Andreas Hölzel.
The petroleum industry association has said up to 70 percent of drivers in Germany are filling up with the “wrong” gasoline when they bypass Super E10 and opt for traditional grades.
About 90 percent of cars on the road can handle the new biofuel, which contains up to 10 percent bioethanol content. Advocates of the gasoline-ethanol mixture, which can be produced with common crops such as sugar cane, potato and corn, say it helps curb greenhouse gas emissions.
From the beginning of this year, German gas stations have been required to offer the new Super E10 petrol or face penalties. According to the newspaper Bild, right now it is being stocked by four in ten stations.
Drivers can determine is the Super E10 is suitable for their cars by asking their dealer or mechanic, or by looking at the list of compatible models published by the Deutsche Automobile Treuhand.