More UK Biopower News

Following on from Sir Richard Branson’s delivery of a Biopower 9-5, there’s this on the arrival of the 2.3 Biopower engine and Saab’s continuing calls for greater government support for E85.


Saab Great Britain has this week launched its second flex-fuel car, capable of running on eco-friendly renewable fuel source bioethanol E85, in the UK – the Saab 9-5 2.3t BioPower, which cuts fossil CO2 emissions by up to 70 per cent when running on bioethanol compared to when running on petrol. This car joins the existing Saab 9-5 2.0t BioPower…..

Jonathan Nash, Managing Director of Saab Great Britain Limited, says “…. In 2006, we have started to see all of the pieces of the jigsaw come together; flex-fuel cars are appearing on UK roads, bioethanol E85 pumps are being installed at a growing number of supermarket petrol forecourts, factories which produce the ethanol are starting to be built, and UK farmers are looking forward to being paid a fair commercial price for their crops…..”

This is the bit I like though….

However, Nash feels that there is still much to be done and puts the responsibility for this squarely at the feet of the UK Government: “What we need now is some meaningful Government intervention…… A mere £10 reduction in Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) and a 20 pence per litre tax rebate on biofuels is not enough to stimulate this new market,” says Nash.

He continues: “Upon publication of the Stern Review last week, the British Government claimed to be leading the global debate on Climate Change. Well I don’t see much evidence of that. What I see is the Swedish Government taking progressive measures, such as major tax relief at the pump and for company car drivers, and free parking in Swedish cities to encourage drivers into environmentally-friendly cars, instead of penalising them. I see the French Government making positive steps towards encouraging the use of flex-fuel cars by considering proposals to tax bioethanol E85 at the lowest rate permitted by EU legislation and the introduction of incentives to encourage large companies to buy flex-fuel cars. I see the Irish government offering a 50 per cent refund on Vehicle Registration Tax for flex-fuel cars, equating to savings equivalent to £3,000, and the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture promising to subsidise the construction and operating costs of new biofuel plants using budget money in order to kickstart a domestic biofuels industry. In summary, I see many other governments, both inside and out of Europe, taking far more radical steps than the UK to combat climate change. Those are the nations who are really leading this debate.”

Now that’s handing someone their own arse in a hat.

I think the Australian government could do with a little of the same. All in good time, though.

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