Ottawa spends millions on high-ethanol vehicles that don't cut emissions

- October 3rd, 2009

My contribution to this morning's papers:

Ottawa's push to use high-level ethanol fuel in cars is doing little or nothing to cut Canada's greenhouse gas emissions nor will it, says a government briefing note prepared for Natural Resources Minister Lisa Raitt and obtained by Canwest News Service.

Moreover, government officials have warned Raitt that giving automakers credits toward new fuel efficiency standards by making cars that can use environmentally friendly E85 fuel will not actually reduce emissions because those cars will never actually use the 'green' fuel and will continue to use regular gasoline.

“The point the document is making is fairly straightforward — promoting E85 has no environmental benefits,” said Matthew Bramley, climate change director for the advocacy group Pembina Institute.

Fuel that contains 85 per cent ethanol and 15 per cent gasoline is generally referred to as E85 fuel. While almost any car engine can run on E10 fuel — gasoline with 10 per cent ethanol — only specially modified vehicles can use E85 fuel.

Ethanol is a renewable source of energy derived from corn or other plant products.

The Conservative government has spent hundreds of millions of dollars subsidizing the production of ethanol or offering rebates to consumers to buy E85 vehicles — but the briefing note says none of that money has or will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“The chance for reducing emissions through changing fuels is very limited at best,” said Bramley.

Cars and light trucks that can use either E85 fuel or regular gas are known generically as flex fuel vehicles or FFVs.

The briefing note was written in March and obtained under federal access to information laws. Parts of the note have been blacked out.

In the note, Raitt is cautioned about the “implications” of promoting the use of E85 fuel … [Read the rest]

Categories: Politics

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1 comment

  1. David says:

    It’s not that people won’t use E85 fuel , it’s that we can’t use E85 fuel . There is no were in Canada to get !!!!!!! I live in Winnipeg , and i have owed to different flex fuel cars . I would have to go to the states to get E85. What’s the point of flex fuel cars if we can’t buy fuel!!!!!! Does anyone in the goverment have a brain. Big oil is controlling everything , and they answer to no one.

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