I know how important this matter is locally, given our large agricultural sector. I believe that low-carbon fuels such as bioethanol play, and will continue to play, an important role in helping the UK meet its carbon budgets. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions produced by transport is vital, and there is a need to decarbonise the fuel that the majority of vehicles currently on the road use.
Later this year, the Government intends to publish its full response to the call for evidence that was held last year, on whether, and how best, the UK could introduce E10. It is important to stress that any decision on the introduction of E10 as a new petrol grade must both balance the needs of emissions reduction and consumers.
The Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation, as amended in 2018, is expected to save nearly 85 million tonnes of CO2 over the 15-year period from 2018. This represents approximately one third of transport’s projected contribution to UK carbon budget savings during the 2020s. In achieving those savings, there is an opportunity to increase the amount of bioethanol in petrol, from 5 per cent today up to 10 per cent.
It is important to note that using E10 in place of E5 could reduce the net greenhouse gas emissions of a petrol vehicle by around two per cent. However, as yet, I understand that the Department for Transport has not seen convincing and conclusive evidence that a shift from E5 to E10 would have a significant effect on reducing air quality pollutants. Nonetheless, I look forward to seeing the Government’s response on this matter soon, and will be following any progress with interest.