Fleet News

EC backing for biofuels

The European Union is being pressured to scrap or lower duties on biofuels as the European Commission drafts a law to promote them. EU member states promised in March to replace 10% of standard transport fuel with biofuels by 2020, up from the current 1.8% share of the market.

At an international biofuels conference in Brussels, Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva called for an end to EU import tariffs charged on Brazilian ethanol, to bring it in line with imported mineral oils and natural gas.

He said: “We cannot send out contradictory signals. The governments that reiterated a commitment to sustainable development and to the reduction of greenhouse gases cannot then create obstacles to turning biofuels into international commodities.”

He claimed such liberalisation would slash biofuel pump prices.

European Commission president José Manuel Barroso said the EU was considering such a move. He said the proposal would serve as a basis for fostering relations with external partners to help the creation of an international biofuel market.

EU trade commissioner Peter Mandelson said Brussels would not use tariffs to encourage drivers to buy EU-made biofuels. “Europe should be open to accepting that we will import a large part of our biofuel resources,” he said, adding that Brussels should not favour EU production of biofuels with a weak carbon performance over imported cheaper, cleaner biofuels.

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