July 9, 2008

Ontario rethinking ethanol and biofuels

Gasoline sold in Ontario may not be required to contain 10 per cent ethanol fuel within two years, Premier Dalton McGuinty said today.

McGuinty said he’s rethinking his long-standing promise to boost the ethanol content in gasoline by 2010 due to complaints that the biofuel yields little to no environmental benefits and is driving up the cost of food.

“The issue for us is whether it would be in the public’s interest to stretch it to 10 per cent,” he said.

“I think we’ve got to pay attention to some of the other developments, including food costs.”

McGuinty made the pledge prior to the 2003 election that saw the Liberals seize power, saying the move to ethanol would boost Ontario’s rural communities and add thousands of new jobs.

Currently, gasoline sold in Ontario must contain an average of five per cent ethanol, which is derived from corn, wheat and straw.

But environmentalists and other groups have grown disenchanted with biofuels, which a United Nations report linked to the increase in world food prices.

McGuinty wouldn’t say whether he’s also rethinking the government’s policy of purchasing cars that can accept 85 per cent ethanol fuel.

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