Biofuels

Biofuels, such as ethanol blended fuels and biodiesel, are made from vegetable and animal products. The ACCC is monitoring developments in this emerging market.

Biofuels and the ACCC

Biofuels (particularly ethanol blended petrol and biodiesel) are [offered for sale by many fuel retailers] increasingly being used by motorists.

Two states have mandated the sale of ethanol blended fuels and biodiesel:

  • New South Wales introduced an ethanol mandate in October 2007
  • Queensland introduced biofuels mandates in January 2017 for the sale of bio-based petrol and bio-based diesel.

For more information refer to Section 1.6 of the Quarterly report on the Australian petroleum market - June quarter 2018 and Chapter 10 of the Monitoring of the Australian petroleum industry 2014 - Report.

The ACCC is mindful that when markets are developing and competitors are attempting to carve out a niche or gain a competitive advantage, competition, consumer protection and supply issues may be more likely to occur. The ACCC is alert to the emerging market for ethanol blended petrol and biodiesel in Australia and is monitoring developments in readiness to consider issues of compliance with the competition and consumer laws it administers.

Types of biofuels

Unlike petrol and diesel which are made from non-renewable resources like crude oil, biofuels are derived from renewable materials such as vegetable and animal products. There are two main types of biofuels used as transport fuels in Australia: ethanol and biodiesel.

Ethanol blended petrol (EBP)

E10 fuel is a blend of unleaded petrol and up to 10 per cent ethanol that is widely used in Australia.

E85 fuel contains up to 85 per cent ethanol, but is generally only suitable for purpose-built vehicles.

While most new and some older vehicle models can run on E10, some new and many pre-1986 models cannot use it. Check the owner’s manual provided by the manufacturer and vehicle warranty for the recommended fuel for operation.

A full list of vehicle models suitable for E10 use can be found on the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries website.

Biodiesel

Biodiesel contains a blend of diesel and either five or 20 per cent of fatty acids from vegetable of animal tallow. These blends are called B5 or B20.

Not all diesel vehicles are compatible with biodiesel, and you should check with the manufacturer if your vehicle is suitable for use with biodiesel.

Check the pump labels

Pumps dispensing ethanol blended petrol or diesel containing more than 5 per cent biodiesel must be clearly labelled to indicate their contents.

More information

ACCC's fuel monitoring role
CHOICE - E10 state of play
Australian Institute of Petroleum – Biofuels factsheet
Bioenergy Australia
Biofuels Act 2007 (NSW) | Biofuels requirements in NSW
Liquid Fuel Supply Act 1984 (Qld) | Queensland biofuels mandates

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