Stephen Williams MP - working hard for Bristol West

Stephen Williams MP test drives low emission car

2.00.25pm GMT Fri 22nd Dec 2006

Stephen Williams MP test drives a Ford Focus Flexi-Fuel that runs on E85 (photography: Tim Pollard)

Liberal Democrat MP for Bristol West, Stephen Williams, will be testing a cutting edge low emission car for a month over Christmas in order to highlight the government's failure to incentivise a switch away from fossil fuels.

The Ford Focus Flexifuel runs on E85 - made up of 85% ethanol and 15% petrol. This means that it has unusually low emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, responsible for much of the planet's global warming. The cars' emission level is just 99.6grams of CO2 per kilometre, which compares favourably with the 122g/km of low emission hybrid cars such as the Toyota Prius.

Stephen Williams said "I wrote to all major car manufacturers asking for their progress on low emission vehicles. Many complained that their research had been hindered or abandoned due to the failure of the government to make dual-fuel car use economical. Currently E85 can only be bought in a few garages, but Morrisons Supermarket have promised Ford that they will stock it in all of their 275 branches across the country if and when the government reduce the tax on it. Gordon Brown currently makes E85 uneconomical by adding over 30p per litre to the cost. This is a disgrace and shows that Labour are all spin and no substance on tackling climate chaos."

"In Sweden the government have made a commitment to be oil independent by 2020. They have promoted dual-fuel vehicles to such an extent that 4 out of every 5 Ford Focuses sold there can now run on E85. If Britain were to follow their lead then we would show we are serious about tackling climate change," he added.

In Somerset, Wessex Grain is planning a new bioethanol production plant next to an existing grain storage site in Henstridge. The facility will be able to convert 340,000 tonnes of wheat into 131,000,000 litres of ethanol a year at full capacity from 2007. In the meantime bioethanol powering the Focus will be supplied by Wessex Grain from crops grown locally and processed elsewhere.

The Ford Focus is a 1.8 Litre model which produces 70% lower emissions than the equivalent petrol version. It retails in the UK for £14,095 and delivers 125ps and fulfils Euro 4 emission standards.

N.B The emission figures given include emissions produced during the manufacturing process of the fuel. Official figures which car companies must publish by law, do not include this. The published figures for the Toyota Prius are 104g/km. An estimated 17% has been added to account for this.

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