‘Belgian government refuses to make clean blue diesel cheaper’
Belgian Federation of Fuel Traders (Brafco) asks the Belgian federal government to be consistent in its policy to lower taxes on ‘greener’ fuels like ‘blue diesel’, as it already did for the clean natural gas variants, CNG and LNG.
“The government makes diesel expensive because it is polluting, but there is diesel that is 100% clean”, says Brafco spokesman Johan Mattart. “We have asked to abolish or at least reduce excise duties on this so-called ‘blue diesel’, but we are not heard.”
What is blue diesel ?
HVO (Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil) or blue diesel is in fact vegetable waste oil (e.g. frying oil). This fuel in unadulterated form (B100) can reduce CO2 emissions by up to 90% because it has no fossil origin and is considered renewable.
When the fuel is mixed with conventional diesel (B70), the CO2 benefit decreases almost proportionally. “In addition to the advantages of lower CO2 and nitrogen emissions, the fuel offers more complete combustion and higher engine efficiency.”
“On the other hand, there are occasional problems with the degree of clotting at low temperatures, as a result of which fuel filters clog. Mixing additives in it can have covering effects of these disadvantages”, experts say.
Production is more expensive
Unfortunately, production of blue diesel is 75 cents per litre more expensive. “The excise duties on diesel, also for HVO, are 60 cents per litre”, says Johan Mattart of Brafco. “If the government exempts HVO from taxes, as it has already done for the clean natural gas variants CNG and LNG, the difference with regular diesel is still 15 cents.”
“Competition would quickly make sure that this difference would also be eliminated. Also for other more environmentally friendly hybrid fuels there is hardly any compensation from our government. In the Netherlands, however, an excise duty reduction has been introduced for HVO.”
Refuelling across the border
In the Netherlands blue diesel is already available at the pump. According to Mattart, pump holders in the border region with the Netherlands, Germany and Luxembourg are losing customers. In these countries, diesel is 10, 20 or even 40 cents per litre cheaper.
In five cities in the northern province of Friesland, there are already filling stations with the ‘blue diesel’ at the pump. The Lybian oil company, Tamoil, provides the diesel and calls it fossil-free, but this will not always be the case.
Brafco cannot determine whether the sale of diesel in general is falling due to the increased price or because motorists are less willing to buy a diesel car.