Future is black for green fuel

Daniel Vorbach, 34, of Raceview only uses premium fuels in his motorcycle, saying the ethanol blend fuel is less cost effective.
Daniel Vorbach, 34, of Raceview only uses premium fuels in his motorcycle, saying the ethanol blend fuel is less cost effective. David Nielsen

WHAT was considered by many to be a raw deal for consumers has become no deal at all - with major oil companies removing ethanol from Queensland petrol bowsers.

Oil giants BP and Shell have blamed low demand for the product, combined with supply issues in the wake of the floods.

However, they will continue to operate ethanol bowsers in New South Wales due to the State Government's mandate that six per cent of petrol must contain 10% ethanol.

The absence of ethanol won't inconvenience Raceview motorcyclist Daniel Vorbach, who said E10 was not cheap enough to compensate for its lack of efficiency.

Mr Vorbach's 1300cc Yamaha has fuel consumption figures of 5.7 litres per 100km on 98 octane premium unleaded, compared to 6.3 litres per 100km on E10.

While it costs him an extra $1.27 a tank to fill up on premium, he gets an extra 60 to 70km out of each tank.

"It is far more economical for me to fill up on premium," he said.

Professor for Sustainable Business and Development at USQ Springfield, John Cole, said not enough had been done to encourage the public to use ethanol.

The former head of the Queensland Government Office of Clean Energy was one of the first people in the state to use ethanol-blended fuel in his government-owned car.

"I have seen very little evidence that E10 is markedly cheaper and that in itself makes it difficult for the consumer," he said.

The news has been met with disappointment by advocates of clean energy in Queensland, with Llewellyn Motors general manager James Sturges noting it was a step backward in the development of vehicles better equipped to run on ethanol.

"Manufacturers have invested heavily to ensure their vehicles can use a range of fuels," Mr Sturges said.

"We certainly see it as a step backwards for those people trying to reduce the environmental footprint of the product they sell."



  • Not all vehicles are safe to run on E10 fuel.
  • Ethanol can damage older car engines and some models of motorcycles.
  • A list of compatible vehicles is on the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries website.

Topics:  consumers ethanol fuel motorists oil petrol

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