Caltex wants govt action on biofuels

Caltex calls on government to produce energy white paper and to determine if biofuel users should be given incentives

By Brad Gardner | August 2, 2010

The Federal Government should develop an energy policy examining whether biofuel users should be given incentives, fuel manufacturer Caltex says.

Caltex Managing Director and CEO Julian Segal has called for the development of an energy white paper outlining how the benefits of biofuels can be realised.

He says not enough resources are being used on research and development of biofuels and whether incentives should be introduced for those using them.

"A major policy question is whether we should just rely on markets to provide the liquid fuels we need or whether governments should intervene to regulate or incentivise alternatives to fuels made from crude oil. As a nation we haven’t adequately debated what the policy balance should be," he says.

"We need an energy white paper that addresses the energy security and climate change challenges facing Australia and the need for renewable and alternative liquid fuels, particularly biofuels."

Segal also wants transport excluded from emissions trading.

The Australian Trucking Association supports emissions trading, but Segal claims carbon pricing will have little impact on fuel consumption.

"Regulation and incentives are more effective than carbon prices for cutting transport emissions," he says.

"In addition, there should be financial incentives for consumers to purchase lower emission vehicles."

The ATA also supports the introduction of government incentives to encourage trucking operators to adopt new technology and use alternative fuels.

In its recent federal election questionnaire to the Liberals, Nationals, Labor and the Greens, the ATA sought responses on what each party would do to help businesses and individuals reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

Under emissions trading, fuel manufacturers will be required to buy permits to pollute. The cost will be passed down to the trucking industry and motorists in the form of higher fuel prices.

The trucking industry will be given a one-year reprieve from higher prices, with the Federal Government saying it will cut one cent from the fuel excise for every one cent rise in the price of fuel from emissions trading.

Despite planning to introduce emissions trading this year, the Federal Government will delay it until at least 2013.

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