That Saab loves itself some ethanol is no secret, so it shouldn't be a surprise that the Saab Great Britain's managing director, Jonathan Nash, isn't too pleased with the UK's Chancellor decision to take away the fuel tax rebate for biofuels starting in 2010. Nash said the move shows that the government might be turning its back on biofuels and that the UK will fall behind other European countries on the biofuel front. Nash's full statement is pasted after the jump, but here's a bit of the flavor:

We are fearful that this will do nothing to encourage the use of E85 and could drive up the cost of eco-friendly bioethanol E85 at the pump for the consumer.

That may be, but Nash's biggest mistake here is implying that the UK is in Europe. Doesn't he know how many Britons feel about the Continent?

Press Release:


In response to the Chancellor's announcement that the fuel duty rebate for biofuels will expire from 2010 Jonathan Nash, Managing Director of Saab Great Britain, 'fears that the Government has turned its back on biofuels.'

'I am deeply disappointed that the Chancellor has announced the removal of the fuel duty rebate for biofuels from 2010. The lack of long term consumer incentives for the use of high blend biofuels is a clear indication of the Government turning its back on this technology.

'Although the Chancellor has stated he will encourage the development of sustainable biofuels by increasing the buy-out price for suppliers under the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation, we are fearful that this will do nothing to encourage the use of E85 and could drive up the cost of eco-friendly bioethanol E85 at the pump for the consumer.

'The UK continues to fall behind other European countries where a more generous package of incentives is encouraging consumers and fuel providers to embrace this exciting technology right now, and reduce the environmental impact of their new car purchase.'

Note to Editors:

Fuel Duty Rebate

The Fuel duty rebate for biofuels is currently 20p per litre until 2010.

Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation

The Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation Programme will, from April 2008, place an obligation on fuel suppliers to ensure that a certain percentage of their aggregate sales is made up of biofuels. The effect of this will be to require 5% of all UK fuel sold on UK forecourts to come from a renewable source by 2010. This will help meet our climate change objectives as well as contributing to other Government objectives, including security of energy supply.

In order to ensure compliance the Administrator will issue RTF Certificates according to the quantity of renewable fuel on which duty has been paid. It will be possible for companies to trade certificates. If a company cannot produce enough certificates at the end of each compliance period it will have to pay a buy out price which will go into a buy out fund.

About Saab BioPower technology

Premium car-maker Saab launched its BioPower flex-fuel technology in its domestic market of Sweden in 2005. Since that time, the Saab 9-5 BioPower has flown to the top of the country's environmentally-friendly sales charts, with some 11,000 9-5 BioPowers sold in Sweden last year. Saab has three BioPower engines currently for sale in the UK market , all of which enjoy substantially-reduced fossil carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, whilst delivering significant increases in power when running on bioethanol E85 compared to when running on petrol.

Bioethanol is produced commercially from agricultural crops, such as wheat, sugar cane, sugar beet, and other forms of biomass. Also under development are second-generation processes which offer greater energy efficiency by using ligno-cellulose extracted from forestry and agricultural products, such as wood, straw and grass. The bioethanol is blended in high volumes with small amounts of petrol to create the eco-friendly yet potent fuel, bioethanol E85. Unlike petrol, bioethanol consumption does not significantly raise atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide (CO2), the main 'greenhouse' gas. This is because emissions released during driving are balanced by the amount of CO2 that is removed from the atmosphere when crops for conversion are grown. In contrast, fossil-based fuels, such as gasoline and diesel, release new amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere which have been locked away underground in oil deposits.

About Biofuels

It is widely acknowledged that there are good and bad ways to make biofuels. Saab encourages the development of sustainable biofuels. Saab believe that sustainably sourced and efficiently produced biofuels represent a cost-effective and consumer friendly enabler to achieving significant CO2 reduction and reduce reliance on fossil fuels in the short to medium term.

The UK's first bioethanol production plant in Wissington, owned by British Sugar, is a prime example of what state-of-the-art biofuel production can deliver in terms of CO2 reduction. Efficient production methods at Wissington mean that by using by-products from production as animal feed, running combined heat and power generation units, and recycling CO2 generated during the production for the cultivation of tomatoes, the plant delivers a 60% reduction in carbon emissions compared to production of the equivalent fossil fuel. All this from surplus sugar beet.

Second generation biofuels offer great CO2 savings from waste products. To accelerate the move to second generation biofuels, in the United States, Saab's parent company General Motors has recently entered into a partnership with Coskata Inc., a company which is developing breakthrough technology to produce ethanol from waste. Scientific analysis of Coskata's process has shown that for every unit of energy used, 7.7 times that amount of energy is ultimately generated in the shape of ethanol produced. The process can also reduce CO2 emissions by up to 84 per cent compared with a well-to-wheel analysis of conventional petrol.

About Saab
Saab is GM's European premium brand, reflecting a unique Scandinavian design ethic, fused with a strong aircraft engineering heritage. Saab's distinctive cars benefit from the best of GM's worldwide capability, while being engineered and designed to cater for the exacting requirements of the global premium motorist.

Saab was founded in Sweden in 1937 as Svenska Aeroplan Aktiebolaget (Swedish Aircraft Company), revealing the prototype for its first aircraft-inspired passenger car in 1947. UK sales commenced in 1960.

[Source: Saab]

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