Petrol PumpThe main news story today in the UK is contaminated petrol in UK filling stations operated by Tesco and Morrisons – see the reports from BBC and The Guardian. Initial investigations seem to show that problems might be related to a firm Greenergy that is supposed to supply greener fuels to both of these supermarket chains, but as this Independent article states, no-one really seems to know what’s actually in this dodgy petrol. Greenergy also supplies 99 Octane unleaded that contains a 5% ethanol component anyway, and there’s the suggestion that ethanol contamination might be at the heart of these wider problems – see the Big Biofuels Blog for more.

If you like the old saying that all publicity is good publicity, this is probably all very well. But the market for biofuels (bioethanol and biodiesel) is only just starting off in the UK. As I’ve previously written, Saab is leading the way (more on their biofuel cars here), but this is a fledgling market in the UK and most of the rest of Europe. Plus with a backlash against green cars being led by Jeremy Clarkson (OK, that’s a Prius), and the press pandering to the idea that everyone is discriminating against car drivers, this current contamination problem is not helpful – especially if ethanol does prove to be the cause.

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