Oil Industry Reaction to Gallagher Review of Biofuels

7th July 2008


Oil Industry Reaction to Gallagher Review of Biofuel

The review published today by Prof. Gallagher, chair of The Renewable Fuels Agency, commissioned by the Government, into the indirect effects of the production of bio fuels, recommends a slowing in the pace of biofuel use originally envisaged under the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation (RTFO).

The review concludes that accurate mechanisms do not yet exist to accurately measure, or to avoid, the effects of indirect land use change from bio fuels and that as a consequence the net greenhouse gas emissions cannot be assessed with certainty, leading to a risk of a net increase in GHG emissions both with the existing RTFO targets and the EU’s 10% biofuel target for 2020.

The RTFO paving the way for the introduction of bio fuels into road fuels in the UK, started on 15th April 2008 and in the first year, the biofuel obligation of 2.5% is largely expected to be met by blending 5% biodiesel with conventional sulphur-free diesel. The original RTFO targets envisaged a biofuel content of 3.75% in 2009/10, rising to 5% in 2010/11. The review recommends retaining the 2008/9 target but thereafter increasing it by 0.5% points in each subsequent year up to 5% by volume in 2014, allied to tighter reporting requirements on the sustainability and carbon saving of source material to encourage take up of material grown on idle or marginal land.

Chris Hunt, Director General of UKPIA, commented, "Biofuels have a role to play, but are just one of many measures to reduce CO2 emissions from road transport, including more efficient use of fuels. The whole issue of carbon saving and sustainability is hugely complex, a point which was made in UKPIA’s 2004 report ‘Future road fuels’. The report also highlighted the potential CO2 savings from better use of biomass material and as a source for second generation bio fuels that do not use land for food crops."


Nick Vandervell +44 (0)20 7269 7604

Chris Hunt +44 (0)20 7269 7601

Notes to editors:

  1. UKPIA represents the oil refining and marketing companies operating in the UK, which also own approximately 2,152 of the UK's 9,271 service stations.
  2. UKPIA members own and operate the nine crude processing oil refineries in the UK.
  3. The description "biofuel" is a generic one used to describe liquid or gas fuels that are not derived from petroleum based fossils fuels or contain a proportion of non fossil fuel. Biofuels fall into two main categories- conventional biofuels produced from plants - crops such as sugar cane/beet for ethanol and palm oil, rape seed oil or re-processed vegetable oils for bio-diesel - and advanced bio-fuels from gasified biomass. At present, most bio-fuels fall into the conventional category.
  4. More information can be found on UKPIA's website under 'Publications' - specifically 'Future Road Fuels', and 'Biofuels in the UK'.

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If you need more information,
please contact either:

Nick Vandervell
+44 (0)20 7269 7604

Chris Hunt
+44 (0)20 7269 7601