Stephen Williams MP - working hard for Bristol West

Stephen Williams MP calls for lower taxes on greener fuels

5.42.56pm GMT Tue 23rd Jan 2007

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, has called on the government to lower tax on E85, a more environmentally friendly alternative to petrol.

E85 is made up of 85% ethanol and 15% petrol. This means that it has unusually low emissions of carbon dioxide, responsible for much of the planet's global warming. Over Christmas, Stephen Williams highlighted the government's failure to encourage a switch away from fossil fuels, taking a test drive in a cutting edge low emission car that ran on E85.

He has now tabled a Parliamentary petition, Early Day Motion (EDM) 652, which calls on the government to reduce the tax on the fuel to encourage its availability on petrol station forecourts.

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 has promised Ford that it 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."

"Countries such as Sweden 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, we would make real progress on tackling climate change" he added.

The text of EDM 652 is as follows:

"That this House acknowledges the role that alternative fuels have to play in combating climate change; welcomes the fact that several manufacturers have developed cars which run on E85, a mixture of 85 per cent. ethanol and 15 per cent. petrol, and that such cars produce less than 100g/km of carbon dioxide, making them amongst the least polluting in the world; expresses concern that the current lack of availability of E85 at filling stations makes it an impractical option for most people; notes that the Government currently taxes E85 at a rate in excess of 30 pence per litre; further notes that certain retailers have expressed willingness to provide E85 at filling stations across the UK once the tax is reduced; and calls on the Government to re-address the tax on E85 as part of a revenue neutral reform of fuel duties, so as to encourage its adoption as an alternative fuel that can be certified to have been sourced from a sustainable means of production."

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