Sunday, 12 August 2007

UK bioethanol update

As I mentioned below, when I was out for a spin yesterday in the 93 BioPower, I filled up with E85 at Morrisons in Norwich. Morrisons is still maintaining the 2p per litre differential between E85 and unleaded (E85 is the cheaper) that it set at the launch of the new fuel over a year ago, at least in Norwich.

As I've said before, Morrisons and Saab, as well as Ford and Volvo have done their bit by making the cars and the fuel available but we probably still need the Treasury to give E85 a bigger tax break than it enjoys at the moment for the fuel really to have a chance of taking off (cars deliver far fewer mpg when running on E85).

I was slightly depressed to see that Morrisons had actually had to resort to padlocking the E85 pumps at Norwich, presumably to prevent motorists accidentally filling unsuitable cars with it. I didn't exactly get the impression that they were doing a roaring trade in the stuff, although one of the Morrisons staff told me that quite a lot of police vehicles were now using E85. I knew that Somerset and Avon police were using E85-capable cars but this was the first time I'd heard of Norfolk police adopting them as well. As usual, I got the feeling that the Morrisons staff had been well briefed about E85.

I'm doing this week's Verdict in Somerset/Wiltshire which is where one of the main clusters of Morrisons E85 pumps is, but I notice that the company has now opened its first outlet for the fuel in Scotland - a good excuse to get up there for the Verdict the next time a suitable car comes up.

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