New labels were added to your fuel pumps recently, as new rules require each pump to have either an E5 label for petrol or B7 label for diesel.
These shorthand labels tell motorists that their petrol has up to 5% ethanol, and diesel up to 7% biodiesel content by volume, although in practice other biofuels like methanol can also be included.
While not reflecting any new changes to the fuel you put into your tank, it is nonetheless a welcome attempt to educate drivers on the renewable content of the fuels they buy. Many might not be aware that renewable fuels have been blended into road fuel for over 10 years, as part of efforts to reduce emissions and meet the UK’s climate change ambitions. Further changes are likely to occur in the future, with fitful discussions on when the UK will introduce fuel with up to 10% ethanol E10.
While introducing E10 has already led to much heated debate, it is nonetheless widely recognised that increasing use of biofuels will play a role in helping decarbonise transport in the decades ahead. In fact, with the ’net zero’ emissions by 2050 commitment there’s a major opportunity for the downstream fuels sector to go even further in demonstrating how liquid fuels can decarbonise while still ensuring individuals, families and businesses enjoy the personal freedoms that the internal combustion engine has provided for over a century.
UKPIA’s Future Vision report, published earlier this year, marks a first for the industry in laying out some of the possibilities for low-carbon fuels, be they second generation biofuels, the alphabet soup of RFNBOs or LCFFs or ’development fuels’. Low-carbon fuels, delivered to consumers without disruptive and costly new infrastructure, can help us reach ’net-zero’.
However, we cannot do this without a flexible regulatory environment to pursue research and development here in the UK.
Ministers are undoubtedly under immense pressure to ’do something’ beyond what they are already doing to meet our climate targets. Making the UK a world leader in low-carbon fuels definitely wouldn’t be a bad place to start.