While the company welcomed the reversal of the unleaded ban, it said the change was only tinkering at the edges and would have little impact while the law requiring 6 per cent of all petrol sold to be ethanol remained in place.
Shell’s vice-president Andrew Smith said the decision taken overnight was a good first step, but it would have no practical effect on motorists unless the 6 per cent mandate was also removed.
“A mandate is a mandate, and the removal of ‘no-choice’ will have no impact on the choice available to motorists,” he said.
“The remaining 6 per cent mandate will have exactly the same impact on motorists as the unleaded fuel ban – because the only way for ethanol to reach 6 per cent of total sales will be to remove a choice between unleaded and E10.
“There are only two ways the 6 per cent mandate can be met – either motorists choose to buy E10 or they are not given a choice.
“Based on past experience we know that ethanol has been unpopular with motorists, so we will have to remove choice to avoid breaking the law.”
Shell is the world’s biggest distributor of biofuels – but believes that customers should be able to choose the fuel that is best for their vehicle and not have it imposed on them.
Mr Smith said the ethanol mandate failed to take into account the fuels that customers were choosing.
He said growth in small efficient turbo diesel engines and engines requiring high octane fuels had changed customer preference.
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Media inquiries: Paul Zennaro, Shell Media Hotline - 0417 007 344