Oh Canada! Pump It Up

Canada finds itself in a bind: They’ve got lots of cars ready to run on biofuels but only two public gas stations — across the entire country.

That’s right: About 600,000 cars and light-duty trucks on Canada’s roads today can run on green bio-fuels, but there are only two public fueling stations where drivers can gas up.

The Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers’ Association is lobbying the federal government for tax incentives to make E85 ethanol and biodiesel fueling stations available across the country so those vehicles don’t have to use regular gasoline and diesel, which emit more greenhouse gases.

"It’s what our customers are demanding like never before," says Mark Nantais, association president. "Canada continues to lag far behind other countries in making greener fuels like E85 and biodiesel available for drivers."

In comparison, the U.S. has at least 1,200 E85 fueling stations, developed as a result of tax incentives for gas station owners to convert pumps to handle the fuel, which contains 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline, says Philip Petsinis, manager of government relations for General Motors Canada. And Sweden has about 800 E85 stations, has no federal taxes on green fuels and requires large fuel companies to provide at least one alternative-fuel pump at their stations.

The association wants the Canadian government to maintain a tax exemption for ethanol fuels that is slated to be cut next year, as well as bring in new tax incentives to help gas station owners convert their pumps to E85 capability. The group also wants more government fleet vehicles that can run on E85 or biodiesel and more fueling stations for them. Currently there are about 20 refuelling stations for government fleet vehicles from British Columbia to Ontario.

(Source: CanWest News Service)

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