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TheAge.com (Australia): Shell and Caltex ‘ignoring ethanol fuel’

September 12, 2006

Shell and Caltex, which dominate petrol sales in Australia, are ignoring the push towards ethanol-blended fuels, the Service Station Association (SSA) says.

SSA boss Ron Bowden said despite Shell and Caltex supplying more than 65 per cent of the industry, it was independent service stations that were heading ethanol promotion.

“It’s the independent sector that has led the way with it and always has and is still doing it,” Mr Bowden told ABC Radio.

Deputy Prime Minister Mark Vaile told a food industry dinner on Monday night that supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths, and their fuel partners Shell and Caltex, need to promote more ethanol-blended fuel at their 1,000 outlets around Australia.

Only one of their outlets, a Woolworths petrol station in Cairns, currently sells the 10 per cent ethanol blend (E10), which retails at about four cents less than unleaded petrol.

Mr Bowden said everyone in the industry knows that the supermarkets absolutely dominate and control the retail market.

“If we’re going to make significant inroads into getting ethanol blends, bio-fuels, into customers’ fuel tanks, then the supermarkets have got to be part of the scene,” he said.

Mr Bowden said consumers were missing out on a more economically effective fuel because of a lack of supply.

“E10, properly labelled and properly priced, is very attractive and we just can’t get enough of it,” he said.

© 2006 AAP

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