Biofuels could slap extra £2bn on prices at the pump

Biofuels could slap an extra £2billion onto prices at the petrol pump by 2020. That’s the claim today from two charities who are slating UK plans to increase the proportion […]

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By Vicky Ellis

Biofuels could slap an extra £2billion onto prices at the petrol pump by 2020. That’s the claim today from two charities who are slating UK plans to increase the proportion of biofuels in UK petrol to fall in line with EU renewable energy targets.

The Government is planning to increase the amount of biofuels – such as ethanol – in our petrol from the current 4%.

Charities ActionAid UK and Friends of the Earth worry this could go up to as much as 10%. They have commissioned research by the International Institute for Sustainable Development, which they say shows the biofuels could create an extra 13 million tonnes of carbon emissions every year in the UK.

Meredith Alexander, ActionAid UK’s Head of Policy said:”The UK must scrap its biofuel targets. Motorists, the environment and poor people in developing countries will bear the brunt of this ill-conceived directive. Prices at the pump will be higher and so will CO2 emissions. Increased biofuel production will have disastrous consequences as food prices are forced up and millions of people go hungry and lose their land.”

However the Department for Transport, which is responsible for the policy, defended its choice of biofuels and denied costs would spiral.

A DfT spokesperson admitted while there were different ways to produce biofuel, which may have varied environmental impacts, “we’re obviously not going to promote ways that affect ecosystems and the environment.”

They said it was “speculation” to suggest the amount of biofuel in fuel could go up to 10% and added: “Biofuel regulations in the UK include a ‘safety valve’ preventing any additional cost from supplying biofuels from rising to an unacceptable level.”