Saturday, April 19, 2008

Biodiesel - Whether you Want it or Not!

From April something new will be appearing in your fuel pump. There will be no visible difference to the eye, there has only been limited publicity and the chances are your local petrol station will not even be inclined to tell you what is happening.
In a bid to tackle carbon emissions from cars, the EU has introduced the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation. It stipulates that all petrol sold in the UK must include at least 2.5 per cent biofuels, rising to 5 per cent by 2010.
What are biofuels?
Biofuels are a renewable alternative to fossil fuels. To classify, the fuel must be made from biological materials, for example biodiesel is made from processed vegetable oils such as soya bean oil.
They are renewable fuels because in the case of plants they absorb carbon dioxide during their growth. So when burnt they are merely releasing what they have already absorbed. In effect, they are carbon neutral.
All cars can cope with a blend of up to 5 per cent biofuels without any modifications to the engine. Some specially designed models on the market can now take a blend containing up to 85 per cent biofuel.
Production of biofuels has soared in recent years as countries look for alternatives to oil, which has become increasingly expensive and whose supply is heavily dependent on politically unstable regions, such as the Middle East.
However, as countries like the United States and Brazil have turned from growing corn or sugar for food to using it to produce ethanol, it has had a devastating side effect; food prices have been going up.

Food wars
The more land farmers give over to producing energy crops the more food prices are pushed up by falling supplies of key crops. The issue is particularly acute in the Americas where at least a quarter of the US corn crop and more than half of Brazil's sugar cane crop is used for ethanol production.
However, European officials insist the continent is not contributing to the problem, with only 2 per cent of cereal production used for biofuels. But, there is no guarantee where the biofuels used in your petrol will come from. In addition, it’s not just instability in the food markets that is being blamed on biofuels.
The biggest concern of environmentalists is that as crops such as palm or soya bean become the new oil so more Asian and South American countries will be tempted to clear rainforests to grow them. Then not only would biodiversity-rich landscape be lost but also trees that absorbed vast quantities of carbon dioxide and helped reduce global carbon emissions.
Although recognising the benefits biofuels offer as an alternative to fossil fuels, many environmentalists now question whether we should be pushing ahead with adding them to our petrol just yet.
Friends of the Earth claim a recent poll found that almost 9 out of 10 Britons had no idea that biofuels were about to be added to their petrol. They argue that more resources should be put into making vehicles more fuel efficient and improving public transport.

“Most people will be horrified to know the Government is putting biofuels in our petrol when the damage they do to forests could make climate change worse,” said Friends of the Earth biofuels campaigner, Kenneth Richter. “People want to see real green transport solutions that will make a difference to their lives - like better public transport and smarter cars that burn less fuel,” he added.

Will the cost of Fuel go Down Then?

Absolutely not! Despite that fact that biodiesel can be mass produced cheaply from industrial waste and ethanol can be cheaply imported or produced locally you, the consumer, will not see one penny reduction in cost. So just as I predicted previously, it's not about the cost of oil at all, it's about the government putting their hand in your pocket for tax revenue on commodities they know you cannot live without.


The ONLY and I repeat ONLY way to escape this taxation trap is to make your own fuel! For a modest investment you can quietly make your own fuel in your shed for a few pennies a litre. You have been warned, stay keen stay green!

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