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Summit to tackle E10 biofuel debacle held

The Local · 8 Mar 2011, 08:04

Published: 08 Mar 2011 08:04 GMT+01:00

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Berlin is working to implement a European Union directive that says biofuels should make up 10 percent of EU vehicle fuel consumption by 2020 to make the continent less dependent on foreign supplies.

The new E10 petrol contains 10 percent biofuel made from crops and has been sold at German filling stations since last month.

But many drivers have spurned E10 because they fear damage to their motors even though the VDA auto federation says it is suitable for 93 percent of petrol-driven vehicles.

Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen has slammed the failed launch as an "unacceptable screw-up" by the oil industry, while Economy Minister Rainer Brüderle said there was a "fundamental communication problem."

He has organized a roundtable in Berlin to get the E10 programme back on


Brüderle has called representatives from the oil industry, car manufacturers and other interested parties to a "petrol summit" in Berlin to discuss what the Financial Times Deutschland dubbed the "debacle of the E10 fuel's introduction."

Instead of buying E10, car owners are opting for traditional fuel, even if it costs more, said Tomas Gloos, a petrol-station manager in Frankfurt.

Some drivers buy E10, but "no more than 10 percent," Gloos told AFP, and "most of them do so without knowing it."

One customer who chose the new fuel was Marietta Hille, a woman in her fifties who complained that "there was no information available ahead of time" but bought E10 nonetheless because of its price.

Last week, a litre of E10 cost €1.54 ($8.14 per gallon), compared with €1.62 for super Plus, a 98-octane option.

"Classic" Super petrol, also called E5, contains up to five percent biofuel, but the station run by Gloos in Frankfurt's Westend had almost none in stock in an attempt to push clients towards E10.

That has not worked well however, and many in the wealthy part of Germany's financial capital have preferred to pay more for Super Plus instead, leading to supply bottlenecks.

For several days, Gloos' station was running "nearly on empty" for the higher octane fuel.

The German petroleum industry federation MWV said last week that refineries would have to adapt to weak demand for E10, sparking the wrath of political leaders.

But while the oil industry has been accused of providing little information on the new fuel, environmental associations have slammed it for poor results in carbon dioxide emission tests.

Story continues below…

They note also that biofuels require farmland that could be used to raise crops for food, putting pressure on prices that are now attracting consumers' attention.

E10 was launched in France in 2009 and a distribution network now covers around 20 percent of all filling stations there.

At the end of 2010 however, biofuels only accounted for 13 percent of all French sales whereas the government would like to see it used much more widely.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

08:53 March 8, 2011 by Krim
Following the discussions and the headlines I am missing the scientists and engineer working in the fiels to jumb in and give us number.

If 10 % ethanol makes this biofuel more oxidative to the engine or may be there is no long term studies etc etc.

How much CO2 emission in comparison with regula fuel etc...

What is the french experience... etc.

Instead we are wasting our time listening to some politicians who have no idea....
09:14 March 8, 2011 by freechoice
E10 is a scam by petrol industry. The usage of E10 fuel is much less few efficient in MPGs ratings. Thus you need to top up more fuel than before. If Europe is seriously interested in being green, it should gives tax incentives to bring in the full production of electric vehicles into the auto industry. Any other alternatives are to stall the development of zero emission vehicles.
09:37 March 8, 2011 by Carlos Hausner
"Instead of buying E10, car owners are opting for traditional fuel, even if it costs more, said Tomas Gloos, a petrol-station manager in Frankfurt."

Just imagine how the Germans would vote if they were given a referendum on the Euro and EU membership!
10:11 March 8, 2011 by marimay
What a mess.
11:10 March 8, 2011 by idiot
E10, the farmer subvention?
11:32 March 8, 2011 by zeddriver
One problem I have seen in the USA concerning bio fuel is this.

Making fuel from grain competes with the grain used to feed people. And has resulted in the price of grain (food) raising.

It also takes a large amount of water and energy to produce bio fuels from grain.

It's BTU per gallon is lower than petrol, and so it takes more bio fuel to produce the same amount of work as petrol.
12:23 March 8, 2011 by The-ex-pat
E10 will generally decrease mileage by 5-10% per gallon/ litre per 100km. Have we just increased the overall consumption of oil and thus shortened the finite life of our oil supply to take up this short fall. If so, then the Greens are going down in flames with any eco argument.
15:19 March 8, 2011 by adipk
I like this stupid step. I dont know why the leaders are not realizing that after some time, how poor people feed their children. shortage of food become more worst problem then now.

though some people even a newspaper claims that car need more fuel than a normal fuel and engine become out of order much quicker. i dont know what the F&%(k is going on
00:01 March 9, 2011 by zeddriver

Your old engine will not blow up by using E10 (Alcohol)

The problems that E10 causes are to the seals in the fuel system. Alcohol will cause a rubber seal to dry up and it will start to leak. Most auto companies now use silicon seals. Which are unaffected by the Alcohol.

As far as the lower power versus petrol. Google is your friend.
12:58 March 9, 2011 by DOZ
Quit Starving the Poor, so you save a few bucks on Fuel.
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