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Biofuels not the bogey in fuel price hike debate

New Zealand Biofuel Manufacturers Association

For immediate release: May 4 2008

Biofuels not the bogey in fuel price hike debate

Biofuels should not become a political scapegoat for petrol and diesel price increases says the New Zealand Biofuel Manufacturers Association.

The suggestion that biofuels will add 7c litre to the cost of fuel comes only from an oil company submission to the Biofuels Bill.

The NZ manufacturers say from their current calculations if there were additional costs they would not need to be that high.

Dickon Posnett, spokesman for the biofuel manufacturers (NZBMA), says the final cost of petrol and diesel blended with biofuel would be largely determined by the oil companies. But the six manufacturers in the association agree biofuel costs would be small compared with recent price hikes of petrol and diesel.

“Some statements being made about biofuels are just wrong,” Mr Posnett says. “New Zealand consumers should be given the full story.

“New Zealand has the natural resources to make biofuels that will reduce carbon emissions significantly. They will not take food out of the global food chain, or cause forests to be burned. And they will give this country some protection from international oil markets.

“Consumers should ask themselves why wouldn’t this country use its own resources and reduce its dependency on imported oil?

“They should know that 100%, or pure, biodiesel is being successfully used in vehicles throughout the world – even in cold climates like Scotland. Technology and quality standards have answered consumer concerns about old motor cars having problems using biofuel blends. The majority of the world’s motor vehicle and farm equipment manufacturers are producing motors that run on biofuels. And in New Zealand Gull has successfully introduced a E10 ethanol blend already.”

The NZBMA’s members include Argent Energy NZ, Biodiesel New Zealand, Ecodiesel, Biodiesel Australasia, Flo-Dry Engineering and Pure Power Technology.

Some of these companies use tallow (waste animal fat) and used cooking oils in the production of biodiesel. Others use oil from the locally grown crop called rape, or woody biomass converted to sugars and fermented to ethanol.

Mr Posnett says the debate over biofuel is missing two significant points: no biofuels means New Zealand remains totally subject to the increases in the international price of oil and keeps burning greenhouse gas producing fossil fuels.

“Yes, setting up a system that will see only the use of biofuels that meet sustainability criteria does mean hard work, but New Zealand needs to make a start,” he says. “There is plenty of experience in the United Kingdom and Europe to help us on our way.

“New Zealand shouldn’t be left behind, much less waste its own resources by selling them at commodity price levels.”

Mr Posnett says biofuels should not become an environmental political football in the run up to the General Election. New Zealand is obliged under the Kyoto Protocol to find ways to reduce its carbon emissions and the use of locally produced biofuels would help do that.


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