Germany cancels plans to mix ethanol with petrolApril 4th, 2008 - 7:30 pm ICT by admin
Berlin, April 4 (DPA) Amid growing fears that biofuel farming is harming the environment and driving world food prices, Germany Friday cancelled plans to mix more ethanol made from plants with petrol. Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel said the decision was taken because 10 percent ethanol in petrol would rot the hoses and gaskets of millions of auto engines. But he said an order for diesel fuel to contain 7 percent ethanol remained in place.
Gabriel rejected accusations of blundering and cast blame on car manufacturers for not telling him in time that three million engines were vulnerable if the current ethanol supplements were increased.
He said he refused to force millions of German motorists to buy a more expensive, ethanol-free grade of petrol.
At a news conference, he acknowledged the wider criticism of ethanol, saying, “It’s now being asked if producing ethanol actually causes more damage to the climate than the fuel it is meant to replace.”
The change of mind over petrol means Germany must reduce its overall 2009 target for biofuel addition to motor spirits from 6.25 percent to 5 percent, as measured by energy yield, Gabriel said.
Biofuel plans are under attack round the world because of forest clearances and because of the recent run-up in world grain prices.
India banned rice exports Monday in response to the shortage.
Economists say the diversion of land to fuel growing is reducing the world’s potential to grow food at a time when grain demand in Asia is soaring.
Tags: accusations, april 4, auto engines, car manufacturers, diesel fuel, dpa berlin, economists, environment minister, gaskets, grain prices, hoses, motorists, news conference, petrol, producing ethanol, rice exports, sigmar gabriel, target, world food prices, world grain