Queensland RFA allays fears over ethanol mandate concerns
Claims from consumer advocates that Queensland motorists will pay millions more for fuel each year after the introduction of the State Government’s ethanol mandate are misleading and misinformed, Larissa Rose, managing Director of the Queensland Renewable Fuels Association, has said.
Rose maintained that Queensland motorists should not expect to pay more at the petrol pumps due to the State’s ethanol mandate.
From January 1 2017, large service stations will be required by law to ensure that 3% of their total regular and ethanol-blended petrol sales each quarter are bio-based, such as E10.
The minimum target for ethanol will rise to 4% in 2018.Biodiesel is a part of this mandate and requires 0.5% of all diesel fuel sold to be bio-based diesel.
A report from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission this week found that a similar mandate in force in NSW since 2007 had reduced consumer choice and forced drivers to buy more expensive premium 95 or 98 unleaded petrol.
However, Rose said the comparison of the Queensland and NSW mandates was misleading.
"When NSW introduced its mandate in 2007, consumers were unsure about filling up with E10, which caused them to purchase premium grade fuels, therefore raising fuel sales in those categories," she said.
“Because there was minimal consumer education about the environmental benefits of E10 and its capacity to give consumers a safe higher-octane fuel at a lower price for their vehicles, misperceptions in the marketplace occurred, leading to a significant increase in consumers choosing the premium fuels, and therefore paying more.”
In Queensland, however, motorists will still have the choice to use 91 unleaded petrol in their vehicles after the introduction of the ethanol mandate in 2017, meaning they don’t have to change their fuel consumption habits or expenditure at all if they don’t want to.
“What we need to do is ensure there is consumer education to remove the stigmas about biofuels and help consumers make an informed and aware choice at the purchase point. But for consumers who choose to continue using the same fuel they have always used, there will be no significant price impact as a result of this mandate,” Rose said.