E10 sales efforts fail to ease driver fears

E10 sales efforts fail to ease driver fears
Photo: DPA
The majority of German drivers continue to avoid the controversial E10 biofuel, despite increased efforts to educate the public about its safety, a media report said Tuesday.

“There is no change in the trend,” spokesperson for petroleum company Total, Manuel Fuchs, told daily Bild, which surveyed fuel providers across the nation.

“The sales of E10 for auto fuel remain at just 20 to 25 percent,” he added.

Spokesman for the country’s leading gas station chain Aral, Guido Brandenburg, reported that depending on location, the chain was selling the ethanol mix to between just 30 and 40 percent of drivers whose cars were compatible with the fuel.

According to Shell, acceptance of the product remains “unimproved,” with only one in three E10 compatible vehicles filling up with the fuel.

“Our hope of a change in the trend has unfortunately gone unfulfilled,” a spokeswoman at competitor Esso said.

In late March a poll by German automobile club ADAC showed that 85 percent of drivers rejected the petrol out of hand. Their concerns included a disbelief in its benefit to the environment, and fears that it might damage their cars or lower fuel efficiency.

While the fuel is suitable for most cars, gas efficiency does fall slightly.

The ongoing unpopularity of E10 has depleted stocks of traditional grades as drivers decide to fill up with what they know and trust.

The German government has come under intense criticism for its handling of the fuel’s introduction, with many people saying it failed to inform the public which cars could safely drive on the new gasoline.

A “fuel summit” between the government and oil companies in early March sought ways to address the problems with E10’s acceptance, including launching an information campaign clearly laying out which cars could run on the new fuel.

But the petroleum industry has demanded that the tax on E10 be slashed in response to the poor sales.

Government standards oblige the petroleum industry to make 6.25 percent of its total fuel sales biofuels in 2011.


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