The Government will have to up the amount of biofuel in petrol and diesel in order to meet the EU’s renewable energy targets, MPs have been told.
The industry has been preparing for the introduction of E10 petrol for a number of years, but there has been opposition because it will push up prices and it will not work with some older vehicles.
In its budget submission last year the PRA warned the market was not ready to embrace it.
But MPs on the Energy Select Committee were told that introducing the E10 was the only viable way to meet the EU Renewable Energy Directive requirement for 10% of transport energy to come from renewable sources by 2020.
Jonathan Murray, policy and operations director of the Low Carbon Vehicles Partnership, who participated in the Government-backed Transport Energy Task Force to look at options last year, told MPs it had concluded that deploying E10 and also using more waste-derived biodiesel would give the UK “a fighting chance of getting to the target”.
“There really isn’t anything else you could deploy in the timescale that would get anywhere near that target,” he said.
Currently under the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) just under 5% of petrol is bioethanol.
Murray said he expected ministers to publish a consultation this summer with a view to changing the RTFO next year.
“Unless it is changed we will miss the target on the transport side,” he said. He added that with the proposed changes, hitting the target would then be “achievable” but “challenging in the timeframe we have got left”.
He said there would need to be a public information campaign to explain which vehicles can’t use E10.
“The key challenge that we face is introducing a new grade of petrol, E10. There is an issue there. About 9% of petrol vehicles would have difficulties running on E10,” he said.
“There will need to be a public information campaign to explain which vehicles can’t use E10 successfully. That will be a critical element of deploying and meeting the target.”