Biofuel usage in UK transport sector falls 5.9% due to pandemic restrictions

New data from the UK’s liquid biofuel consumption in the transport sector has been released.
Provisional figures for 2020 showed that biofuel consumption was 2,210 million litres – a 5.9% or 140 million litre decrease compared with 2019.
This was a strong shift from the increasing trend observed in the past four years and could be attributed to the COVID-19 restrictions affecting the transport sector, according to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
Bioethanol consumption in 2020 was 602 million litres – 20% less than in 2019. However, biodiesel consumption increased slightly by 0.6% to 1,608 million litres last year.
Despite a drop in volume, the proportion of biofuels compared to total road fuels has increased to 5.8% in 2020 – up 0.7% from 2019.
However, in 2018 the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) increased the biofuel production targets from 4.75% to 12.4% by 2032, with an intermediary target of 9.75% by the end of 2020 – a target, which provisional figures suggest has been missed.
In the fourth quarter of 2020, a total of 588 million litres of liquid biofuels were consumed in transport, 66 million litres, or 10.2% less than the same quarter the previous year.
This drop is less sharp than those observed in quarters two and three of 2020 as a result of activities resuming during the Christmas period. However, figures are still lower than those of 2019 due to the COVID-19 restrictions.
Biodiesel consumption stood at 424 million litres in quarter four of 2020 – 34 million litres, or 7.4% less than 2019. This was the lowest year on year drop since the pandemic struck.
Bioethanol consumption fell by 17%, from 196 million litres in quarter four of 2019 to 163 million litres a year later.
In quarter four of 2020, bioethanol accounted for 4.6% of motor spirit, rising 0.1% compared to the same quarter last year.
Biodiesel represented 6.1% of diesel (DERVE) consumption, an increase of 0.1%.
The combined contribution of all biofuels also increased by 0.1% to 5.6%. Biodiesel represented 72% of biofuels consumption, with bioethanol accounting for the remaining 28% of the total volume of biofuel consumed.

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