Hefty increase in sales of biofuels

26/06/2008 15:00

In 2007 2.8 percent of petrol and diesel sold in the Netherlands consisted of biofuels. This is substantially more than the 0.4 percent in 2006. It is also more than the 2.0 percent required by the Dutch government for suppliers of petrol and diesel.

Biofuels sold for road vehicles

Biofuels sold for road vehicles

Biodiesel most common

By far most of the biofuels sold on the market are mixed with regular diesel and petrol. The most common form of biofuel sold as motor fuel in 2007 was biodiesel. The share of biofuels in diesel was 3.2 percent, for petrol it was 2.0 percent.

In 2006 the total share of biofuels in fuel sales was only 0.4 percent. That was before the government had set any targets, although suppliers of biofuels were partly exempted from excise. This exemption was abolished again in 2007 and replaced by a legal requirement to supply 2.0 percent of biofuels in the fuel sold. This content will gradually increase to 5.75 percent in 2010.

More mixed in than required

Mixing biofuels with regular diesel and petrol results in extra costs for the suppliers. In spite of this they mixed in more than required in 2007. One possible reason for this is that the suppliers of motor fuels are permitted to count the biofuel they sell now to compensate for a higher requirement in later years.

Dealers probably estimated that buying biofuels instead of fossil fuels would involve fewer extra costs in 2007 than in 2008. These extra costs are related to the price of agricultural products and fossil fuels, and to government policy with respect to biofuels in various countries. All these factors are subject to strong fluctuations.

Reinoud Segers