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Estonia last EU state to begin transitioning to biofuel

The Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure submitted a bill amending the Liquid Fuel Act which would require liquid fuel suppliers to add fuels produced from renewable sources, known as biofuels, to their gasoline and diesel fuel. Estonia will be the last EU member state to take on this obligation.

The requirement comes from the European Parliament’s Renewable Energy Directive, which among other points requires that all EU countries must ensure that at least ten percent of their transport fuels come from renewable sources by the year 2020.

Latvia and Lithuania have both already reached five percent of their fuels coming from renewable sources, while Finland has already exceeded the ten-percent mark. Estonia, only just now adopting the requirement, will be the last member state of the EU to do so.

"By increasing the use of fuels produced from renewable sources in transport we can decrease the transport sector’s dependence on imported oil, in whose case issues with security of energy supply are most acute, and influence the fuel market in the transport sector to become greener," said Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Kadri Simson (Center).

"As we are the last ones to implement the requirement, Estonia has had the opportunity to learn from other member states’ experiences," she continued. "While in 2010 the sector was dominated by issues caused by the use of poor-quality biofuel, by now biofuel is a high-quality product which can be used safely in any weather."

According to the bill, by May 2017, fuel released for consumption must contain at least 3.3 percent biofuel by volume of energy, with this percentage increasing to 6.4 by 2018, eight percent by 2019 and ten percent by 2020.

In order to harmonize the requirement with neighboring states’ liquid fuel markets, biofuel will not be required to be added to diesel fuel during the transition period lasting from November 2017 through March 2018. If the biofuel is produced from waste or residues, its contribution toward meeting the target is counted as double.

Last year, just 0.2 percent of fuel used in Estonia’s transport sector was produced from renewable sources.

Biofuel content in liquid fuels are denoted at gas stations with either an E5 or E10 label, depending on the percentage of its content in a given fuel — five or ten percent, respectively; diesel containing biofuel is labeled as B7.

While liquid fuels containing biofuels may safely be used in most vehicles, information regarding with which vehicles it is recommended against using biofuels will be published on the Estonian Road Administration’s homepage. A blend of diesel and biofuel may safely be used in all diesel-engine motor vehicles.

Editor: Editor: Aili Vahtla

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