Service stations

Biofuels requirements in NSW

Volume fuel retailers must make sure that:

  • a petrol-ethanol blend (E10 or E85) is available at volume fuel service stations
  • petrol-ethanol blend is as accessible as regular unleaded petrol at volume fuel service stations
  • ethanol is at least 6 percent of all petrol sold
  • biodiesel is at least 2 percent of all diesel sold.

Who is affected by the biofuels mandate?

The biofuel laws apply to a person or business who:

  • operates or controls one or more volume fuel service stations — a service station that sells three or more types of petrol or diesel and sells more than 900,000 litres of petrol and diesel combined per quarter, in two consecutive quarters, or
  • operates or controls the operation of 20 or more service stations, none of which are volume fuel service stations.

Primary wholesalers are fuel wholesalers who operate or supply petrol or diesel fuel from an oil refinery or a shipping facility and are required to register and report quarterly volumes to NSW Fair Trading, but the mandate does not apply.

I am a volume fuel retailer – what do I need to do?

Register

First, you must register as a volume fuel retailer to comply with the requirements. The registration requirements under the biofuel laws apply to all service station operators. Fair Trading uses contact details you have provided through FuelCheck to give you more information on how to register as a volume fuel retailer.

Any new service station, or new operator of an existing service station, is required to register with FuelCheck as soon as possible after either taking over the existing service station, or commencing operation of the new service station. Complete the service station registration form online to register.

Report quarterly

If you operate as a volume fuel retailer or a primary wholesaler, you must submit quarterly reports to Fair Trading. A maximum penalty of $5,500 may apply if you fail to provide the report without a valid reason.

Meet the minimum biofuels requirements

Volume fuel retailers must meet:

  • the requirement to ensure that a petrol-ethanol blend (E10 or E85) is available for retail customers and is, at a minimum, as accessible as regular unleaded petrol
  • the ethanol mandate
  • the biodiesel mandate

Update fuel price signs

Service stations selling four or fewer fuel types must list all their fuel prices on a prominently displayed price board. Service stations selling more than four fuel types must list a minimum of four fuel prices (but may list more if they wish).

You must list the price of E10, LPG or diesel if these are offered for sale at the service station, but otherwise you can choose which fuels are listed on the price board. The requirement to display the top-selling fuels no longer applies.

The price listed on the fuel price board must be the standard retail price. This means the price available to anyone (without discounts or other special offers) expressed as the price per litre.

I already sell E10. What do I need to do?

If you operate a volume fuel service station there are other requirements under the law that you must follow:

  • Make sure that ethanol blended fuel is as accessible as regular unleaded petrol offered at the site
  • Display the price of E10 on the service station’s price board
  • Register as a volume fuel retailer with Fair Trading and submit quarterly returns online
  • Make sure that any ethanol or biodiesel counted towards the mandate complies with a sustainability standard prescribed by the Biofuels Regulation — either the ‘RSB Principles and Criteria for Sustainable Biofuels Production’ or ISO13065:2015 ‘Sustainable criteria for bioenergy’.

What information has to be included in my quarterly returns?

Quarterly returns must include:

  1. the total volume of petrol sold (including petrol-ethanol blend)
  2. the total volume of petrol ethanol blend sold
  3. the total volume of diesel fuel sold (including biodiesel blend)
  4. the total volume of biodiesel sold (this means the amount of pure biodiesel as part of biodiesel blends)
  5. the number of service stations at which petrol-ethanol blend is available for retail sale, how many of those service stations are volume fuel service stations and the number of nozzles and bowsers available for retail sale of petrol-ethanol blend at each of those service stations
  6. the number of service stations at which regular unleaded petrol is available for retail sale, how many of those service stations are volume fuel service stations and the number of nozzles and bowsers available for retail sale of regular unleaded petrol at each of those service stations.

How do I submit my quarterly returns?

Quarterly returns can be submitted online or by email to biofuels@finance.nsw.gov.au. Go to the biofuels online form training material page to access detailed instructions and online simulations to help you get started with the online portal.

Can I get an exemption from a minimum biofuels requirement?

If you cannot meet any one of the four elements of the biofuels mandate, or need further time to comply, you can apply for an exemption. View or download the Biofuels Mandate Exemption Framework (PDF, 424.41 KB) for more information.

You’re eligible for an exemption if:

  • you’ve taken all the steps set out in the regulations to comply with the mandate, or have otherwise taken all reasonable steps to comply; or
  • the exemption is reasonable to allow you to take all steps required to comply with the mandates; or
  • compliance may result in a risk to public health or safety; or
  • compliance would not be economically viable; or
  • other circumstances prevent compliance.

The Secretary may also grant an exemption if you’re unable to comply with the ethanol mandate, despite having taken all the following steps:

  • installed or upgraded infrastructure at the service stations to enable supply of a petrol-ethanol blend
  • made a petrol-ethanol blend available at the service stations
  • secured sufficient supply of petrol-ethanol blend for the service stations
  • marketed the petrol-ethanol blend sold, including at a minimum ensuring the price of E10 is displayed prominently on a price board alongside the price of other fuels and
  • ensured that all E10 sold contains at least 9 percent ethanol.

Applying for an exemption

Exemption applications can also be sent by email to biofuels@finance.nsw.gov.au.

Go to the biofuels online form training material page for detailed instructions and online simulations on how to use the forms, including how to apply for an exemption.

What is the process for a 'branded' service station within a larger network

If you operate a volume fuel service station that is branded as one of the major fuel retail companies (such as BP, Caltex, or 7-Eleven), you should first check with corporate head office to clarify your obligations under the Act, if any. At many of those service stations, the corporate head office is the volume fuel retailer for the purposes of the Act.

If you can't resolve the question with corporate head office, contact Fair Trading on 13 32 20. Fair Trading officers will help you comply with the biofuels laws.

What happens if I do not comply?

Penalty notices can be issued for:

  • failing to comply with a biofuel mandate ($5,500)
  • failing to make a petrol-ethanol blend available at a volume fuel service station which is, at a minimum, as accessible as regular unleaded petrol ($5,500)
  • contravening a condition of an exemptions ($5,500)
  • failing to provide a biofuels return (quarterly report) or knowingly providing a return which contains false or misleading information ($5,500)
  • failing to keep records as required in the legislation or knowingly keeping records which are false or misleading ($5,500)
  • failing to register as a volume fuel retailer or primary wholesaler and keep details up to date ($1,100).

Less serious incidences of non-compliance with the legislation are dealt with by penalty notice. For serious breaches of the Act, a business can be prosecuted in court. If prosecution leads to a guilty verdict, the court can impose penalties up to $550,000. Fair Trading’s enforcement policy calls for education as the first response. Prosecution is utilised where other methods of achieving compliance have not succeeded or where there is a case of significant consumer or community harm.

What do operators of other service stations have to do?

A person who operates or controls the operation of less than 20 service stations that are not volume fuel service stations must be registered under the Biofuels Act. The FuelCheck order under the Fair Trading Act also requires operators of service stations to be registered. Fair Trading will use the information from your existing FuelCheck registration in order to register you under the Act.

Operators of other service stations may also be asked to submit a sales volume return to Fair Trading. This will only be required if and when the Secretary publishes an order on the NSW Legislation website requesting information about a particular quarter. You will receive a notification if this is required.

Record keeping requirements for service station operators

In order to submit quarterly returns, you must keep records of fuel and diesel sales.

The Biofuels Regulation requires the following information to be included in those records:

  • the volume of petrol or diesel sold in the transaction
  • whether the petrol sold was or was not petrol-ethanol blend
  • whether the diesel sold was or was not biodiesel blend
  • in the case of a sale of petrol-ethanol blend - the amount of ethanol in the petrol-ethanol blend
  • in the case of a sale of biodiesel blend - the amount of biodiesel in the biodiesel blend
  • whether the petrol-ethanol blend or biodiesel blend sold complies with one of the prescribed biofuel sustainability standards, including details of any relevant certification.

The records can be copies of invoices or other records of sale and must be kept for at least seven years after the end of the financial quarter in which the purchase was made.

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