Germany to proceed with introduction of E10 after fuel summit

By Holly Jessen | March 09, 2011

Despite a difficult start, Germany will continue to introduce E10 as a new fuel. Representatives of the German government, as well as agriculture, fuel and auto industries met in a fuel summit March 9 and agreed on several measures to educate and inform consumers about the fuel.

CropEnergies, a European ethanol producer, released a statement applauding the outcome of the meeting. “The commitment of all stakeholders for the introduction of E10 in Germany and the proposals to inform consumers better is an important step,” said Lutz Guderjahn, board member. “It shows that the Germany policymakers and the Germany industry profess to clear their own climate protection goals and objectives of the EU and pursue this further.”

The industry association representing European ethanol producers, ePURE, also welcomed the news. It reaffirms Germany’s commitment to E10 and its goals for a more sustainable transport future in Europe, said Rob Vierhout, secretary general.

Germany’s problems with E10 have been caused by consumer confusion, Guderjahn said. There was a failure to inform customers about E10 in advance and a lot of misinformation has been circulating, including a widespread rumor that the introduction of E10 would be stopped. “All parties must now work together to fully inform consumers as quickly as possible,” he said.

Vierhout agreed, adding that it’s unfortunate there has been so much confusion and uncertainty about E10. “Consumers have simply not had sufficient information,” he said. “This has been exacerbated by misinformation from those who are opposed to biofuels.”

In order for a “successful and user-friendly” introduction of E10, the groups that met at the fuel summit agreed on a list of responsibilities moving forward. For example, it was determined that since gas stations are where consumers have access to the fuel, the oil companies must immediately offer information to its customers about what vehicles are compatible with the fuel. In addition, it was stated that the oil industry and automobile sector would continue to ramp up promoting “Super E10” to the public as well as creating an E10 website. Finally, vehicle manufacturers and the German Federation for Motor Trades will offer dealer workshops in March and April to help them provide information about E10 to their customers during regular maintenance visits.

On the environmental side, the agricultural and biofuel industries were listed as having the responsibility to provide information to consumers about the benefits of ethanol. The Federal Government is also stepping in to provide information about how E10 contributes to environmental and climate protection and resource conservation as well as developing sustainability criteria. “E10 makes an important contribution to environmental and climate protection and resource conservation and energy security,” according to a document developed during the fuel summit.

E10 was successfully introduced in France and Sweden in the past several years, Vierhout pointed out. In addition, 93 percent of gasoline-powered vehicles in the German market and 99 percent of new cars are compatible with E10. “European-produced E10 is a renewable energy source that is vital in the fight against climate change by reducing carbon emissions in the transport sector; contributes towards domestic energy security in Europe by decreasing our dependence on foreign oil imports, and creates thousands of jobs in Germany and elsewhere in Europe,” he said.