Car drivers in the UK will pay up to £2bn more on the forecourt in 2020 if the government decides to increase the proportion of biofuels in petrol, according to new research commissioned by ActionAid and Friends of the Earth, undertaken by the Global Subsidies Initiative.

The report suggests that policy could also create an extra 13 million tonnes of carbon emissions every year in the UK, and more people in developing countries will go hungry and be pushed off their land as biofuel crops are grown instead of food.

The government plans to increase the proportion of biofuels in UK petrol to 10% to meet our share of the EU’s renewable energy target by 2020 will increase the cost of fuel by the equivalent of an additional litre on every full tank, according to the report.

The EU target promotes biofuels as a greener alternative to fossil fuels, but the research shows that the reality is quite the opposite, claim the charities rather than cutting greenhouse gas emissions most biofuels increase them. The charities believe the answer is to invest in solutions that would provide cost-effective alternatives like improved public transport and cleaner cars. Meredith Alexander, ActionAid UK’s Head of Policy said: "The UK must scrap its biofuel targets. Prices at the pump will be higher and so will CO2 emissions."