The UK will likely lose its £1bn bioethanol industry unless it introduces the ethanol fuel blend E10 by next year at the latest, a cross-party group of MPs has found.
Introducing E10 by 2020 would help the UK meet its greenhouse gas emissions targets as the UK’s petrol fuel sales volumes are increasing, found the all-party parliamentary group (APPG) for British Bioethanol after it launched an inquiry into the introduction of E10 earlier this year.
Publishing its interim report, the APPG warned that allowing the British bioethanol industry to keep on declining by not introducing E10 would come at a heavy cost, leaving the UK more reliant on less sustainable imports and on more expensive electric vehicles to reduce its GHG emissions.
On the launch of the Interim Report, chair of the APPG Nic Dakin MP said: ‘Our inquiry has heard there are in fact increasing numbers of petrol cars on UK roads, and these cars are getting bigger and increasingly less fuel efficient on average. With mass adoption of pure electric cars decades away and the decreasing popularity of diesel, increasing volumes of petrol are being sold.
‘With an urgent need to address the causes of climate change, improve air quality and support job creation in emerging green industries, practical measures which make petrol cars cleaner and greener must be a top priority for the Government who must now work to mandate the introduction of E10 in the UK by 2020 at the latest.’
E10 is a common ethanol fuel blend containing 10% bioethanol and 90% gasoline which is already sold in several other developed countries including Germany, Belgium, France, Finland and the US.
Advocates of E10 say it holds advantages over other vehicle fuels in that it can be used to fuel most modern vehicles without a need to modify their engines or fuel systems, while reducing emissions.
The APPG found that doubling the UK’s current blend from E5 to E10 would save the equivalent carbon emissions of taking 700,000 cars off the road and improve the country’s air quality while coming at a lower carbon cost than other options.
However, the group warned that without the ‘swift’ introduction of E10 by next year, the British bioethanol industry will continue its decline and ‘likely disappear forever’, taking with it thousands of jobs.
The delay would also leave the UK struggling to attract further investment and likely dependent on bringing in less sustainable biofuels and animal feed from overseas, the group said.
The APPG has urged the Department for Transport (DfT) to hold an emergency summit on the future of the British bioethanol industry before parliament breaks for the summer.
‘This is needed in order to quickly agree the most efficient, transparent and cost effective way E10 could be introduced in the UK by 2020 to safeguard this industry, realise the many economic and environmental benefits it would deliver, and avoid potentially adding millions of pounds to motorist’s fuel bills,’ the group said.
The APPG further warned that without E10 it is more likely that the UK will miss its fuels quality directive target, set to rise to 6% in 2020, with the ‘buy out’ costs likely to be passed on to consumers through fuel prices.
The DfT carried out its own consultation on E10 which closed in September 2018. It is expected to announce the results of the consultation later this year.