Canadians Bemoan the Lack of Availability of Biofuels

John Davis

Canadians seem to be willing to use ethanol and biodiesel… if they can get the green fuels.

This story in the Vancouver Sun says there are only TWO E85 ethanol pumps in the country, and biodiesel seems to be available mostly just for farmers and large fleets. But some groups are trying to change that:

crfaandcvma.jpgThe Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers Association and the Canadian Renewable Fuels Association have lobbied government for programs and tax incentives not only to increase production of biofuels, but also to get them to customers.

“You’ve got to be able to allow them to source the fuel,” said Gordon Quaiattini, president of the renewable fuels group.

Robert Sicard, president of UPI Energy which opened the first E85 pump in Guelph, Ont., last January, said it costs $30,000 to convert a gas pump to handle E85 and a government incentive program would help spread them across Canada much faster, as it has done in the U.S.

There are some 600,000 flex-fuel vehicles on Canada’s roads.

Any vehicle can take up to E10 without any engine modifications. Higher ethanol blends require a flex-fuel vehicle and there are 28 models available in Canada today, most from Daimler Chrysler, Ford and GM.

Many Canadians don’t even know they own a flex-fuel vehicle (the gas cap will be yellow), which isn’t surprising because many car salespeople don’t know what they are either, said Sicard.

“They didn’t know they had flex-fuel vehicles on the floor,” said Sicard, who supplied Guelph and Chatham car dealerships with yellow tags to hang on the rear-view mirrors saying “You are sitting in a flex-fuel vehicle” with a map on the reverse to the fuel station. Sales have picked up. Who doesn’t like this stuff? Who can find fault with environmentally friendlier products?”

In addition, the Canadian Renewable Fuels Association has stepped up its efforts to refute what it considers the false claims that biofuels add to world hunger. So, they’re trying to educate on two fronts: the government into providing the incentives to help make biofuels available… and the public so they can be assured they’re getting an environmentally-friendly fuel.

Biodiesel, E85, Ethanol, News