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German cars not ready for new biofuel – sources

More than 2 million cars in Germany cannot run on a new biofuel the government wants to introduce, well over a limit the administration has set as a pre-condition for its use, industry sources said on Wednesday.

Around 330,000 cars made by German manufacturers, plus more than 2 million imported cars are unable to run on the new fuel, industry sources familiar with the data said. The environment ministry declined to comment on the figures. In a newspaper, Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel said he would annul a government decree that the fuel, called E-10, be introduced if too many cars were unable to run on it. “We won’t implement it if the number exceeds a million vehicles,” he told the Stuttgarter Nachrichten daily.

E-10 mixes regular gasoline with biofuel. The biofuel component accounts for up to 10% of the total fuel content. The ADAC motorists’ association called for the introduction of E-10 to be delayed until 2012. Gabriel is waiting for figures from the auto industry on the number of cars unable to use the fuel before taking a final decision on whether or not to introduce it.

The government’s push to introduce E-10 is part of a broader drive to curb emissions. European Union states agreed in principle last year to cut emissions by at least one-fifth by 2020 from 1990 levels, to use 20% of renewable energy sources in power production and 10% of biofuels from crops in transport by the same date. (Reuters)