Biofuels slowly taking off in southern Europe

Whereas some European countries like Germany and Sweden are long-time fans of biofuels, southern European countries seem to need a little more help.

Portugal has announced a new tax exemption for national producers to help them being a strong player in the biofuel market. There are no Portuguese companies currently producing ethanol, most of it being imported from Brazil. In order to compete with cheaper sugarcane-produced ethanol, the Portuguese government has announced tax exemptions for corn producers to manufacture bioethanol. Galp, the biggest retailer of oil products in the country has announced that it can only sell Portuguese ethanol if the price is competitive against Brazilian. It sounds like a known story, doesn't it? Galp is also planning to sell 100 billion tonnes (metric) of biodiesel in 2008 made from imported Brazilian or Angolan soyabeans. Plans are to reach 200 billion tonnes in 2009.

Portugal's neighbor, Spain, is wishing to use more biofuels. Currently, the country is living a weird situation: demand of diesel is so high (currently 70 percent of the car sales are of diesels) that the country is exporting gasoline and importing diesel. Therefore the Government has plans to switch some of that demand to biodiesel, although 75 percent of raw materials should be imported. Current government plans wish for at least 5.75 percent of biofuels in 2010 and 20 percent in 2010. However, the Association of oil products operators of Spain has just claimed for some flexibility in the dates and the percentages. First, they want the power to decide if it should be biodiesel or bioethanol and then they claim for some flexibility in the dates.

Spain is planning to plant up to 400,000 ha (almost 1 million acres) to produce bioethanol, currently almost non-existent at Spanish gas stations. You can check availability and prices for all fuels in Spain by clicking this link.

[Source: Portuguese Ministry of Agriculture and Europapress via]

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