Thursday, 11 February 2010

Flexi-fuel drivers left high and dry after Government subsidy U-turn

Ben Webster, Environment Editor
Drivers who took the Government’s advice and chose a low-emission car could be left with a white elephant after a U-turn by ministers.
Britain’s biggest supplier of biofuels will announce today that it is closing its pumps because the Government is ending financial support from April.
It is the second time in five years that the Government has changed its mind and cancelled subsidies after encouraging motorists to invest in a particular type of green car.
In 2005 it withdrew grants for drivers to convert their cars to LPG. Now motoring groups are advising drivers to think very carefully before accepting Government grants for electric cars because ministers’ current enthusiasm for them may not last.

Morrisons will withdraw pumps at 144 filling stations that dispense B30, a blend of 30 per cent biodiesel and 70 per cent ordinary diesel, which is used in 5,000 vehicles.
The supermarket group is also considering withdrawing E85, a blend of 15 per cent normal petrol and 85 per cent ethanol. Businesses and individuals which have adapted their vehicles to use the high blends of biofuels will find that their investment has been wasted. They will have to revert to using ordinary petrol and diesel and will no longer be able to claim any environmental advantage.
Avon & Somerset Police, Somerset County Council, Wessex Water, Wessex Grain and the Environment Agency all bought fleets of flexible-fuel vehicles on the assumption that the Government would continue its 20p a litre duty discount on ethanol. This will be withdrawn on April 1.
Edmund King, the president of the AA, said: “People who invested in these vehicles capable of taking these high blends of biofuel are being left high and dry.”