Posted by Car Geek on May 18, 2007
Australia’s Prime Minister, John Howard, has today ruled out the possibility of federally requiring the use of ethanol in fuel. This comes only days after NSW’s decision to mandate the use of E2 in its petrol stations. Mr Howard said “while the government would continue to encourage the use of ethanol blends, it was not good to deny people choice, particularly when there was ongoing debate about the effect of ethanol blends on engines”, citing a report released earlier this year which found that 60 per cent of Australia’s cars are suitable for use with E10. E10, a blend of 10% ethanol and 90% unleaded petrol, is becoming increasingly common in Australian independent petrol stations but is yet to make a significant showing in the major petrol chains of many states.
Analysis: Howard’s hesitance towards mandating ethanol use is understandable, but appears to be based in politics more than the science he is using as the reason here. E2 is safe for nearly all vehicles that run on unleaded, which is to be expected given NSW’s recent push for it, and even E10 should be more encouraged given that over half of Australian cars that can use it, don’t. Given the benefits that sugar cane farmers can reap from an increase in ethanol production, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the National party start to push more for it in the near future.
(Source: Herald Sun)
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Posted by Car Geek on May 14, 2007
From September, New South Wales will be the first state in Australia to mandate the use of ethanol in all petrol, according to Regional Development Minister Tony Kelly. The legislation requires all wholesalers selling to retailer in NSW to provide petrol with two per cent ethanol content, with the possibility of E10 currently being researched by the premier’s “E10 taskforce”.
“The two per cent mandate is the first step towards a broader use of ethanol and alternative fuels,” the minister said in a statement. He also accused the government of “going missing” on biofuels, saying that “Australia deserves a national system and a national market but we cannot afford to wait while John Howard dithers.”
Impact: it was less than a decade ago that ethanol was getting some very bad press about the potential damage it could do to cars. Since then we’ve seen fuel prices skyrocket, climate change make constant headlines and the public perception shift to a more sustainable view, but there are still plenty of people who remember the stories from the past about ethanol and are very wary of it. E2 won’t make much of a dent in Australia’s transport emissions or fuel imports, but it won’t damage any cars either. This move is a good first step towards increasing Australia’s ethanol production – widespread availability of E10 won’t be far away for the large number of cars that can use it, and the legislation puts pressure on auto manufacturers to ensure that their cars are certified for various blends.
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Posted by Car Geek on May 14, 2007
Although it should come as no surprise (being the reason this site exists), a study has confirmed it: Australia’s government funding overwhelmingly goes to non-renewable fuels such as oil and coal, to the tune of nearly $10 billion, according to a study completed by the University of Technology, Sydney and commissioned by Greenpeace. In comparison, renewable energy receives only $330 million. Of that $10 billion, approximately 74 per cent benefits the transport sector through avenues such as road subsidies. According to the study, the subsidies for the coal power industry are such that coal plants were able to be built when other options would have been cheaper.
(Source: Sydney Morning Herald)
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