Merkel coalition partners attack ′failed′ government biofuel rollout | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 30.08.2011
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Germany

Merkel coalition partners attack 'failed' government biofuel rollout

Angela Merkel's junior coalition partners, the liberal Free Democrats, have criticized the botched introduction of the E10 biofuel. The party called on the environment minister to revise its policy on green fuels.

A sunflower sticking out of a car petrol tank

Few motorists were willing to switch to E10 biofuel

The pro-business Free Democrats (FDP), Angela Merkel's junior coalition partners in the German government, have sharply criticized the botched introduction of the E10 biofuel earlier this year.

Despite the fact that the new fuel is cheaper and greener than regular petrol, many German motorists had avoided it, over fears it would damage their car engines. Motoring organizations say the new fuel, which contains 10 percent bio-ethanol, is suitable for over 90 percent of the vehicles on the German roads.

FDP transportation policy spokesman Patrick Döring told Tuesday's Passauer Neue Presse newspaper that the idea of mixing biofuel with regular gas had failed. "We have to focus more on pure bio-diesel in order to fulfill biofuel quotas," Döring said. He called on German Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen, a member of Merkel's center-right Christian Democrats (CDU), to develop a new policy concept.

A lab technician peers into a glass of bioethanol

The new fuel contains ten percent bioethanol mixed with regular gas

FDP parliamentary leader Rainer Brüderle told the local Saarbrückener Zeitung that a special spring summit convened to address the E10 debacle had not brought the results that had been "expected and announced." Brüderle added he would raise the issue with his parliamentary colleagues.

The FDP is expected to discuss the issue at its autumn party conference at Schloss Bensburg near Cologne, which gets underway Tuesday.

Costly failure

Support for the unpopular biofuel looked to take another hit last week after oil company BP said it was considering passing on the cost of the botched E10 introduction to consumers if petrol companies were fined for not meeting their biofuel quotas this year.

BP owns the Aral chain of gas stations - the biggest in Germany. According to the Association of the German Petroleum Industry, the cost of the debacle is already reflected in high fuel prices.

"It can't make sense that the industry gets away with not fulfilling their biofuel quotas and then passes on any possible fines to the customers," FDP spokesman Patrick Döring said.

The new fuel, which went on sale in February in Germany, is designed to comply with a European Union directive for biofuels to account for at least 10 percent of all petrol and diesel sold in the 27-nation bloc by 2020.

In neighboring France, the launch went smoothly, with E10 accounting for 13 percent of all petrol sales by the end of 2010.

Author: Joanna Impey (AFP, dpa)
Editor: Darren Mara

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