E10 still on in Germany

Opposition circulates rumors, misinformation about biofuel
By Holly Jessen | April 15, 2011

Despite the fact that E10 is being used successfully as a transportation fuel in the U.S., France and Sweden, its introduction in Germany has been difficult. In early March German Economy Minister Rainer Bruederle called a fuel summit, during which it was announced that the country would proceed with the roll-out of E10.

The root of the problem is consumer confusion, according to Lutz Guderjahn, board member of CropEnergies, a European ethanol producer. 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 halted.

Rob Vierhout, secretary general of ePURE, the industry association representing European ethanol producers, agreed with his assessment. “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 promotions of Super E10 to the public as well as creating an E10 website. Other responsibilities were passed out to manufacturers, the German Federation for Motor Trades, as well as the agricultural and biofuel industries.  “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. 

—Holly Jessen