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Craven Kramer

The Mail reports that EU demands for ever increasing proportions of "renewables" in liquid transport fuels mean that consumers are soon going to be using a new blend of fuel called E10. This has a higher ethanol content and therefore significantly lower energy density, which means that the motorist is going to be hit with a double whammy of fuel that is both more expensive and less efficient.

In response, the LibDem transport minister Baroness Kramer pretends that retailers have some sort of a choice about the new fuels:

Transport Minister Baroness Kramer said it was up to fuel sellers to decide how to meet EU targets.

She said: ‘Any decision to supply E10 is very much a commercial decision for fuel suppliers and current regulations certainly do not require them to do this.’

This is of course preposterous. Either you have the extra bioethanol in your fuel or you have broken EU law. Pretending that there is a choice here is fundamentally dishonest.

Readers here are well aware that the EU directive on liquid biofuels was an exercise in corruption, with Brussels bureaucrats having succeeded in undermining the policy process so as to benefit the farm lobby. The policy should be opposed on these grounds alone, but even the doubters should recognise that the biofuels directive is causing widespread hunger. Such squeamishness has of course barely shifted sentiment among the EU elite.

We have corruption, we have hunger, we have consumers suffering too and inefficiencies being introduced into the transport system. What sort of a person can bring themselves to pretend that everything is OK?



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Reader Comments (22)

What sort of a person can bring themselves to pretend that everything is OK?
Liberal-Democrat peers, of course. Another Oxford PPE, this one from St Hilda's. And being a Lib-Dem the EU can do no wrong.
I doubt she even understands the meaning of the word 'hunger' and would never agree that her political beliefs could be the cause of increased poverty. Though if it's only Third World (sorry, developing countries') poverty, that's probably OK.

Feb 6, 2014 at 10:44 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

What sort of a person can bring themselves to pretend that everything is OK?

The kind of self deluding fantasist that thinks they are perfectly qualified to make rules and laws for their fellow man

Feb 6, 2014 at 10:58 AM | Unregistered Commenterbill

Having used E10 in Germany, its crap. Lower performance and mpg.

Feb 6, 2014 at 11:01 AM | Unregistered CommenterEdwinc

Limp-dims should never be let anywhere near power, they are socialists to a man/woman. This Country of ours with its People means nothing to them but as a pocket to be picked. Corruption is their creed, bringing the Country to its knees their object, hence their love of all things EU.

Feb 6, 2014 at 11:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterDerek Buxton

One needs to be a little careful playing with "renewables":

Feb 6, 2014 at 11:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterGeckko

In NSW, Australia, we're effectively forced to use E10 (91 with "up to 10%" ethanol), because the large garages, which most use' (Shell/Caltex), don't sell "91" , few sell "95", but all also sell "98" - at a much higher price. The "climate change ruse" was used to cause this situation by the previous Labor government, but was happily embraced by the succeeding Liberal/National (conservative) one - because one company has a virtual monopoly of alcohol production from grain - and is "mates" with both sides of politics. There is plenty of grain in Australia - so no one starves - we just pay more for our breakfast cereal, bread and bikkies and feed-lot beef, because a proportion of grain is fermented for one company's (and who knows which politicians') profit. The lesser consumption efficiency with the most popular, smaller cars is less of an issue than the insidious hastened decay of rubber/plastic seals and rings - making expensive repairs inevitable for the less affluent who are the ones driving older cars - more than 5 years old. We also have the nonsense of subsidised derivation of diesel from "old oils" - but this is just a minor waste of public money. The beauty of E10, is that it requires no subsidy, a few companies (and in the US, many corn farmers) and politicians get rich and the Government can claim it is saving the planet!

Feb 6, 2014 at 11:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterMichaelL

There is a lot of chat on motoring websites about problems with ethanol in petrol.
I have not delved into it but the concerns include:
~ loss of performance
~ higher fuel consumption
~ damage to seals and hoses in the fuel system, especially on older cars
~ water contamination (ethanol is hygroscopic)
~ changed combustion characteristics affecting emissions

In my view it would be prudent to avoid any ethanol until a few years have passed and all of the problems have come to light. Brazil is a long way down this path (I think they have gone to much higher ethanol proportions) but their vehicles have different specs and the ethanol is made from cane-sugar. The US may be a better pathfinder as their vehicle specs are closer to Europe's.

Feb 6, 2014 at 11:12 AM | Registered Commentermikeh

Excellent post, Bish, covering all the execrable bases for biofuels - or rather against them.

Feb 6, 2014 at 11:18 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

And what guarantee will the EU give motorists, that E10 won't damage their engine?

Feb 6, 2014 at 11:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

We've been using E10 in the colonies for years. I don't know how often the "up to 10%" is actually close to 10% but I've seen no ill effects in the cars I've run it in including older models dating to mid '90s. You don't want to let it sit around though, the water problem is real.

Experience here with outboard motor has been so bad that most marinas now have fuel w/o alcohol. This has relieved me of the twice per year carburetor rebuild on our 8 hp dinghy motor (used almost daily) to once every three years. The problem was that a tan "gel" would accumulate in the passages and jam it up. The impact on food-grain costs here of the alcohol production to support this nonsense has been significant.

Although it would make sense that the associated reduction in energy would be noticeable, I haven't noticed it.

Feb 6, 2014 at 12:02 PM | Registered Commenterjferguson

Feb 6, 2014 at 10:44 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson. The Green elite. leaching off the EU nations like mistletoe hanging from a tree, have publicly staed several times that there are too many people . Hunger is as good a way as any to eliminate them. Most of the poorest have brown or yellow skins. Green policy is not only genocidal, it's racist as well.

Feb 6, 2014 at 12:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterKevin Lohse

Vote UKIP.

Feb 6, 2014 at 12:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterRightwinggit

We had to shell out £500+ fitting a new fuel tank on our aircraft after the ethanol in the existing mix ate the epoxy seams. The bloke making replacement alloy tanks is doing quite well - broken windows fallacy and all that. Apparently it's been pretty bad for boats too.

Ethanol fuel isn't totally useless though - but you need to add Eurocrats, old tyres and a source of ignition ;-)

Feb 6, 2014 at 1:21 PM | Unregistered Commentergareth

Kevin Lohse
You're right but you're not telling me anything I haven't been saying for a long time.
The "climate change" scare goes back to Maurice Strong and the Club of Rome and it doesn't take very long to trace that organisation back to Malthus and/or Galton.
One of the most telling quotes I have in my library (dug up again for the Discussion thread the other day) is this from Michael Oppenheimer of the Environmental Defense Fund.
"...the only hope for the world is to make sure there is not another United States: We can't let other countries have the same number of cars, the amount of industrialization, we have in the U.S. We have to stop these Third World countries right where they are. And it is important to the rest of the world to make sure that they don't suffer economically by virtue of our stopping them."
(The EDF dates back to the 60s campaign against DDT and was instrumental in bringing the court case which effectively banned its use.)
I especially like the last sentence which gives the impression of an afterthought flung in by a PR person who took one look at the rest of the quote and yelled, "you can't say that!" No explanation from Oppenheimer as to exactly how you manage to reconcile these two somewhat incompatible concepts. But then activists have rarely been endowed with common sense.

Feb 6, 2014 at 1:30 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

@ Mike Jackson Feb 6, 2014 at 1:30 PM
Michael Oppenheimer, if he is still alive, will be very disappointed to learn that 20 million cars were sold in China last year - the USA managed just 15 million.

Feb 6, 2014 at 2:30 PM | Unregistered Commenteroldtimer

Amused by the impressive inspection certificates on our gasoline pumps ( regular government inspection and calibration, precise temperature/volume compensation) adjacent to the "may contain up to 10% ethanol' label, I emailed Shell Canada to enquire how to determine by how much the gasoline I was actually purchasing was diluted with ethanol.

Several weeks and follow up emails later, I was informed that this was unknown to either of us. The federal mandate simply involves a requirement to dilute the entire national fuel volume with 10%. The percentage in any particular sample sold is simply no more than 10%.

I did not pursue questions of the purity of the ethanol, how much water it may have picked up in transport and storage etc. Calculations of cost/benefit of low energy content mixed fuel vs higher cost pure gasoline also rendered futile.

I look forward to the sale of milk and cream which "may, or may not, contain some percentage of butterfat" ....or something or other. Government certified of course.

Feb 6, 2014 at 5:18 PM | Unregistered Commenterbetapug

The ethanol subsidy will one day be looked upon with the same awestruck disdain as the ban on DDT: well intentioned, empty headed environeering.

Feb 6, 2014 at 6:31 PM | Unregistered Commenterjbirks

Given the sugar beet industry interest in all this, are we now seeing the rising anti-sugar campaigns as an effort to guarantee price increases to 'deter' its unhealthy use?

Feb 6, 2014 at 8:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterDave_G

The scandal is that you get 3% less calories in your -E10 fuel and the government has the gall to charge the same price for it as undiluted fuel. If it was beer, adulteration would describe the process.

Feb 7, 2014 at 12:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterBilly Liar

Will the Government compensate me if my car engine is damaged by E10 petrol? I think not.

When E10 was introduced in Germany it caused a major consumer rebellion. People simply switched high octane petrol (Super 98). It's more expensive, but cheaper than a new engine.

A humiliated government then re-introduced standard Super 95 along with E10, so motorists have a choice.

Feb 7, 2014 at 8:37 AM | Registered Commenterreslow

Do our MPs have any say in whether or not biofuel is forced upon us? If not, what are we paying them for? When firms outsource some of their business they do so in order to save money. We are outsourcing our political decisions to Brussels and yet we still pay our MPs as if they are responsible for running the British Empire covering about a quarter of the world's population!

Feb 7, 2014 at 9:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

They tried this in Germany and it was a disaster.
The punters voted with their feet, er wheels and refused to tank wit E10 for most of the above stated reasons. The petrol stations offer a nozzle with E10 (95 RON) at each pump, because they are obliged to. No bugger buys it.

To whom has this stupid woman been talking, in order to miss an elephant the size of Germany's biggest consumer issue for the last 5 years ?

Feb 7, 2014 at 12:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Barrett

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