Ethanol use increases in Sweden

By Brian Warshaw in Fontaines, Burgundy, France | March 10, 2008
Web exclusive posted April 7, 2008 at 10:36 a.m. CST

The number of flex-fuel vehicles and E85 consumption are rising sharply in Sweden.

During 2007, the number of passenger flexible-fuel vehicles in Sweden grew by 74 percent to more than 80,000, according to figures by the Swedish Institute for Transport and Communications Analysis in Östersund March 28.

Meanwhile, oil company Svenska Statoil saw its sales of E85 ethanol blend more than double in the last 12 months to 11.1 million gallons (42 million liters), up from 5.1 million gallons (19.5 million liters). During the month of February Svenska Statoill sold 1.3 million gallons (4.8 million liters) of E85 – 180 percent more than the previous year.

In addition to E85, Statoil added 1 million gallons (3.7 million liters) of E100 (99.7 percent ethanol) as a five-percent blend with its gasoline sold from all its pumps in Sweden.

"We sell E85 at 280 stations all round the country, and it is good to see sales continuing to rise," said Helena Fornstedt, Statoil's director of information. The greatest rate of growth was in Sweden's northernmost county, Norrbottens län, with nearly a sixfold increase.

Statoil has 550 outlets through Sweden. Fornstedt said further investment is under way to increase the number of stations that dispense E85. She said Statoil is also interested in introducing an E10 blend, and sees it "as an effective and quick way to decrease the carbon dioxide wastes from traffic."

Unless the European Commission objects under its competition rules, Statoil will acquire 163 service stations from ConocoPhillips currently doing business under the JET symbol. Statoil wouldn't discuss its acquisition plans, which also includes service stations in Norway and Denmark, until the official decision is made public later this month. .

Sharp growth of E85 use notwithstanding, the 80,000 vehicles burning it still represent just 2 percent of the 4 million vehicles on Swedish roads. In comparison, the U.S. Department of Energy estimates the United States has nearly 7 million flex-fuel vehicles – 2.8 percent of the 244 million vehicles registed in the United States.