Wednesday, 20 October 2004

Questions (114)

Martin Ferris

Question:

214 Mr. Ferris asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the proportion of bioethanol or alcohol contained in car fuels sold here. [25813/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources)

There is currently no bioethanol or alcohol contained in car fuels sold in Ireland. More than 18,000 litres of pure plant oil has however been produced and sold as an alternative vehicle fuel since May 2003.

In March 2004, my Department secured an amendment to the Finance Act 1999, which provides for the introduction of a scheme for excise tax relief for biofuels. The purpose of the scheme is to allow qualified and conditional relief from excise of biofuel used in approved pilot projects for either the production of biofuel or the testing of the technical viability of biofuel for use as a motor fuel.

My Department is finalising details of the scheme with the Department of Finance. The European Commission has confirmed that the scheme would represent a state aid and consequently its approval is required. The EU Energy Tax Directive of 2003 envisages such tax relief and the Commission has approved schemes for excise relief of biofuel in other EU member states. Formal application for Commission approval will be made shortly and, assuming approval is granted, the necessary commencement order will then be signed.