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Saab Fuels the Green Budget Debate

Prior to Wednesday’s Budget Saab Great Britain unveiled a ‘BioPower Budget’ detailing the measures it would like to see the UK Government take in the Budget to boost the use of bioethanol E85 and reduce Britain’s CO2 output from road transport.

Saab’s three key Biofuel Budget actions are:

1. Reduce the tax on bioethanol E85 to drive down prices at the pump – as other European countries have already done. For example, both the Swedish and German Governments apply the maximum discount on fuel duty allowed by EU law in order to encourage the use of bioethanol E85 in their nations.

2. Encourage drivers to opt for flex-fuel cars – this could be achieved by a variety of measures, such as discounting company car tax, reducing Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) and offering incentives for private purchasers – these tactics are already in place and are working in other European countries.

3. Support the expansion of the bioethanol E85 infrastructure – incentives are needed to rapidly increase the number of bioethanol E85 refuelling pumps in the UK, whilst encouraging local production of the fuel.

Jonathan Nash, Managing Director of Saab Great Britain Limited says: “I understand that policy-makers are grappling with a range of tough environmental and social challenges, but the fact remains that transport emissions are still increasing. It is time for the UK Government to take hard action and make a financial commitment to offset the cost of going green. For example, bioethanol E85 is a fuel available right now that can make an immediate and substantial contribution to reducing CO2 output from road transport.”

“I welcome the current focus on addressing climate change and I was pleased to see the Chancellor acknowledge the contribution that biofuels can make to reducing overall CO2 emissions” he continued. “However, what we need to know now is how Gordon Brown plans to encourage the public to drive cars that can run on eco-friendly fuel sources such as bioethanol E85.”

Nash says: “The British Government claims to be taking the lead on these green issues but the UK is lagging behind other European countries including Sweden, Germany, France and Ireland in terms of specific actions and incentives which will genuinely persuade people to change their behaviour. We hope this situation changes when the Chancellor makes his Budget speech on Wednesday.”

Saab is currently the only car company in the UK to offer an alternative fuel engine choice in every single model in its line-up and has been at the forefront of the UK’s emerging bioethanol industry. Saab’s innovative BioPower flex-fuel technology allows its cars to run on either bioethanol E85 produced from agricultural crops such as wheat, sugar beet and woody sources; standard unleaded petrol or any mix of the two; without any adjustment required by the driver. When running on bioethanol E85, these cars typically emit 50 – 70 per cent less fossil carbon dioxide (CO2) than their petrol equivalents.