German minister summons industry as E10 launch hits roadblock

03 March 2011 19:58  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS)--Germany’s federal economics minister on Thursday summoned leaders from the refining, renewable fuels and automotive industries to a summit after the introduction of 10%-bioethanol blended gasoline (E10) at the country's pumps stalled.

The call came after Germany’s refining trade group MWV said demand for E10 was “dramatically low" as drivers feared the fuel could damage their cars.

Refiners were left with unsold stock of E10 and needed “to adjust production” to the low demand, the group said.

Adding to the uncertainty on Thursday were media reports that cited MWV head Klaus Picard as saying refiners wanted to pull E10 from the market.

MWV dismissed those reports, saying it had no plans to pull E10, which so far had been introduced at about 45% of Germany’s 15,000 petrol stations.

Economics minster Rainer Bruderle said he was calling a “gasoline summit” with industry to clarify matters and reassure drivers as to the suitability of E10.

According to MWV, about 90% of all cars on Germany’s roads can run on E10 without engine problems.

Germany last year approved E10 for sale from 1 January 2011, in compliance with EU rules requiring Europe's largest economy to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

In related news, the US Environmental Protection Agency recently authorised the use of 15% ethanol (E15) blends for older-model passenger cars.

Check out Doris de Guzman’s Green Chemicals blog for views on sustainability issues

By: Stefan Baumgarten
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