WHILE the Baird government continues to mandate petrol stations to sell ethanol-blended fuel — and threatens to fine them if they don’t — it’s own ethanol use in government cars has almost halved.

In 2011-12, the year the ­Coalition came to power in NSW, 34 per cent of the petrol used in the state government fleet was ethanol-blended fuel.

But this figure plummeted to just 20 per cent in 2015-16.

By contrast, unleaded petrol use has increased from 15 per cent to 19 per cent and diesel use has increased from 49 per cent to 59 per cent.

The results stand in stark contrast to a memo from the Department of Premier and Cabinet under former premier Barry O’Farrell in 2012, which said: “The NSW government is committed to promoting biofuels as part of the long-term transport fuel mix in NSW.

“The Biofuels Act 2007 requires that from 1 October 2011 all primary wholesalers and major retailers ensure ethanol makes up at least 6 per cent of the volume of petrol sold.

“Since 1 July 2006, all public service staff who drive Government-owned vehicles have been required to use E10 blends (or other alternative fuels) where this is practicable, available and cost effective.”

Better Regulation Minister Victor Dominello came under fire earlier this year when he pushed through laws strengthening the mandate in a bid to force petrol retailers to comply with the mandate.

The legislation will fine service stations up to $65,000 for a first offence of not stocking E10 and up to $550,000 for a second offence.

And from January 1, petrol stations are liable to an on the spot fine of $5500 as enforced by regulations brought into place last week.

Labor’s better regulation spokesman Yasmin Catley yesterday attacked the government for its apparent hypocrisy, saying: “The community expects a government to lead by example, not preach one thing and do the other.”

However, a spokesman for Finance Minister Dominic Perrottet said the decline in the government’s ethanol fuel use was due to the purchase of more diesel cars.

He also said the new laws would make E10 cheaper, leading to more government cars using it.

“The NSW government has increased the number of diesel vehicles over the past five years, replacing vehicles that use unleaded petrol, including ethanol-blended fuel,” the spokesman said.

“This is because many manufacturers have created diesel variants of their vehicles to take advantage of new engine and fuel technology and increased fuel efficiency of diesel over petrol.”

Extracted from The Advertiser