Bioethanol now on sale at UK pumps

15 March 2006

  • First bioethanol fuel on sale at supermarket chain
  • Price is 84.9p – two pence less than petrol
  • Calls for incentives to turn motorists to bioethanol

310bhp Saab BioPower concept

Environmentally friendly E85 bioethanol fuel is now available at petrol pumps in the UK.

Supermarket chain Morrisons has become the first petrol retailer in the UK to offer E85, at its Albion Way site in Norwich. E85 is a mixture of 85% ethanol with 15% petrol. It will cost two pence per litre less than petrol, so at launch will cost 84.9 pence per litre.

By the end of next week, Morrisons says 10 more will stock the fuel, including another four in the east of England and five in the West Country. The supermarket says several other sites around the country are earmarked as potential outlets, but doesn't know how many of its 274 forecourts will eventually stock the fuel.

Its introduction has been timed to coincide with the first deliveries of Saab 9-5 BioPower models, which can run on the crop-derived fuel. Ford is also now selling ethanol-burning versions of the Focus.

Morrisons says it has been in discussion with the Government about introducing tax incentives to encourage uptake of the fuel. Saab, too, wants incentives introduced – its managing director Jonathan Nash said: 'Here in the UK, Morrisons has demonstrated its commitment to the fuel – now let's see the Government do the same.'

In Sweden, cars which run on ethanol are given a company car tax discount, free city centre parking and exemption from Stockholm's congestion charge. The cars have become popular as a result, with 5500 delivered so far, and the fuel is far more widely available.

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