From 1 July 2015, NSW Fair Trading became responsible for administering the Biofuels Act 2007 (the Act).
The Act requires a certain percentage of the total volume of petrol sold in NSW by volume fuel sellers to be ethanol and a certain percentage of the total volume of diesel sold to be biodiesel.
The percentages prescribed under the Act are called the biofuels mandates. The mandate for ethanol is 6% and the mandate for biodiesel is 2%. The ethanol mandate is designed to encourage broader use of ethanol and other biofuels in NSW. Most cars in NSW that use ULP can safely use 10% ethanol-blended fuel.
There are some potential benefits of using biofuels like being good for the environment, creating jobs in regional NSW, helping farmers, and reducing our reliance on foreign fuel imports.
Not all fuel sold in NSW contains ethanol, but consumers now have a choice at the pump to fill up with E10 petrol, which contains a blend of up to 10% ethanol.
On 20 December 2015, the Hon Victor Dominello MP, Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation, announced the Government would be considering a range of reforms to the regulation of biofuels in NSW. This is in response to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) report Ethanol Mandate: Options to increase the uptake of ethanol blended petrol.
Minister Dominello announced that there will be extensive consultation with industry and the community during the first half of 2016. More information is available in the Minister's media release.
For a biofuel to be eligible to meet the mandate, it must be compliant with the Principles and Criteria for Sustainable Biofuels Version Zero (PDF size: 4.32MB) published by the Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels, which is the approved standard under the Biofuels Regulation 2007.
Service station operators across NSW are being asked to provide certain information to NSW Fair Trading as a result of the Biofuels (Return by Operators of Service Stations) Notice 2016 (the Notice) and the Fair Trading (FuelCheck) Order 2016 (the Order). Both of these instruments were published in the NSW Gazette on 6 May 2016. For more information, go to the Service station data collection page.
Volume fuel sellers who do not meet the biofuels mandate can apply to the Secretary for an exemption. The Exemptions framework (PDF size: 434kb) sets out the eligibility grounds and process for applying for an exemption.