Rural independent fuel retailers could be severely disadvantaged by the introduction of E10 fuel, claimed PRA chairman Brian Madderson in Friday’s edition of Radio 4’s You & Yours.

He was responding to the news that transport minister Baroness Cramer had said the introduction of E10 would not be pushed through by the government. She said there were no plans in place and any decision to supply E10 was very much a commercial decision for fuel suppliers, as current fuel regulations did not require them to do this.

The programme also featured a report from What Car? magazine, which conducted efficiency tests on E10 compared to pure petrol - E0. The tests revealed an average fuel consumption increase of 8.4% when E10 was used in a range of vehicles and engine sizes, with one being 11.5% less efficient.

Madderson said: “It’s good to hear the minister saying E10 is not being pushed through by the government, because if the performance of petrol engines does deteriorate, the government would pick up yet more duty and VAT.

“It’s also good news that as far as we can tell oil companies and suppliers are not pushing E10 either, because there are downsides to it - not least for our petrol retailers who live and work in the country. These are retailers often with just two tanks, two pumps, two grades – petrol and diesel – and if we were to move to E10, they could be severely disadvantaged by the fact that most of the vehicles in those rural communities tend to be the older vehicles, which can’t take E10.”

Madderson said there was a discussion going on at a higher level in the EU about the production of biofuels and whether allocating land to its development was the best use of that land, or would it be better saved for food production.

“The EU is starting to backtrack a little. The whole question of the relevance of biofuels going forward is going to be examined closely.”