Ethanol in Australia (Part 2)

Part 1 of this story was concerned with the introduction of the Saab 9-5 Biopower to a conference here in Australia that was meeting to discuss the vialibility of alternative fuels.

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As mentioned in Part 1 of this story, Australian drivers in certain areas now have access to blended fuels up to E10, a blend of 10% ethanol and 90% gasoline. Following is a quick overview of the grades of fuel available, the manufacturers and availability.

Manufacturer: Shell

Shell have an exciting fuel available called Optimax Extreme. This is a blend of 5% ethanol with Shell’s premium unleaded fuel and delivers the highest octane rating in Australia at 100octane.

Optimax Extreme is available through selected Coles Express outlets in Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne. Check here for locations.

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Manufacturer: United

United have two grades of E10 available. ULP-plus is a 95octane fuel and BOOST is a 98octane fuel. Both are E10 blends.

United E10 fuels are available in South Australia, Queensland, NSW and Victoria.

Click for Plus ULP (95octane) locations

Click for BOOST (98octane) locations

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Manufacturer: Caltex

Caltex have E10 blends available, but their website is complete crap and I can’t find much information about them.

They do have this locator page though and you can specify E10 as a search parameter.

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Manufacturer: BP

BP seem to have a 91 octane fuel only when it comes to E10. I’m currently using BP Ultimate, a 98octane fuel that contains no ethanol, so hopefully they might blend that one and come up with a 100octane fuel to provide some competition with Optimax Extreme.

BP have a Biorewards card that will give you 3 cents off the pump price per litre.

BP’s service station locator tells me that there’s 10 BP outlets selling E10 within 6,522 kms of Hobart.

Useful.

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For those interested Tasmanians reading this article (sorry, that interested Tasmanian – Ben), there’s no E10 currently available here in Tasmania. There is hope however. This article from The Mercury indicates that we could see E10 here by Christmas. My gut feeling from the article is that it’s going to be a more generic E10 in the 91-95 octane range, rather than the 100octane I’d rather see.

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8 Comments

  1. Thanks for that Swade. I thought my earlier rant in the Pt.1 comments was off target for a moment. But here’s the scores for E10 in VIC:

    Shell = 7
    BP = 0
    Caltex = 0

    I know somebody who uses United Boost 98 exclusively and they rave about it. It is available very close to me but I can’t get a fuel card for them. What I can say is I love the way they really trumpet it and have CSR logos all over the place.

  2. Turbin,

    Yeah, United’s website impressed me too actually. The link with CSR was definitely prominent.

    United’s just bought a whole bunch of servos in Tassie too, including one down the road from me. They won’t be offering the E10 here though unfortunately, as there’s limited storage space. Hopefully in the future though.

  3. as much as i like the idea of 100 octane ethanol blend jungle juice powering my C900 (hehe, where’s my APC’s boost pot, mwahahhah), marketing E5/E10 etc as a premium performance fuel certainly isn’t going to help ethanol reach critical mass in Australia. indeed, now that ULP is down to AUD$1.10/L or less from its high of AUD$1.40/L+ a couple of months back i have a bad feeling the pressure from the public to find an alternative will be lightened.

    the whole E10 thing is rather sad, selling us this wonderful ‘new’ product that we’ve had (abeit not locally) for what, 20 or even 30 years? the only difference is that now they’re gonna tell us it is in the fuel (which they didn’t do before)!

    in the ideal future E10 has a place; the equivalent of LRP, for the minority of older cars that can’t handle E85 or E100. for the rest of us, let’s just go E85/E100. i’m guessing lack of refining capacity in this country is legitimately holding things back right now.

  4. Ben W,

    The point is that United, seemingly the biggest proponent of E10, offers their Plus ULP E10 product for 4cents cheaper than their regular ULP which is already usually the cheapest around. Their Boost 98 PULP is not much more expensive that ULP from other outlets. Given the sheer number of Uniteds opening around the place it would seem they’re doing pretty well with the product.

  5. Richo,

    E10 shouldn’t be a problem at all.

    If you can find some of that Shell 100octane stuff (Optimax Extreme) then let me know how it goes, or fill up just before I hit Sydney in a few weeks!!

  6. thanks for the extra info Turbin. it’s definitely positive news, barring the fact United aren’t selling the stuff here in Tasmania (yet) :-(. i wasn’t aware of the prices of E5/E10 blends – i can’t imagine the Shell 100 being cheaper than normal ULP, but if United can those sorts of price points, then they’d be in a great position to corner a nice chunk of the market.

    now all we need to do is stop everyone fretting over whether ethanol will kill their cars.

  7. One of the directors at United is Mr Eddie Hirsch:>) There’s a United just around the corner from me, i’ll fill up the 9-5 tomorrow. I always wanted a Hirsch.

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