A TOWNSVILLE independent petrol retailer says new State Government legislation that requires him to sell E10 may force him out of business.

The biofuel mandate, which took effect on January 1, requires petrol stations to make at least 3 per cent of their petrol stocks ethanol fuel such as E10.

Shell Belgian Gardens owner Soren Nannestad said he had been quoted about $100,000 for the installation of an E10 pump at his station.

He is also contracted to Shell, which does not own any ethanol fuel.

Mr Nannestad successfully applied for a 14-month extension to the mandate, but is worried about the future.

“I’m a small, single-site owner and I simply can’t afford it. In March next year, I’ll find out what happens,” he said.

“I don’t have a spare $100,000. I think there should be some sort of help from the government.”

The new legislation applies to businesses that sell more than 500,000 litres of all types of fuel per quarter.

Mr Nannestad said that, while his business was operating just above that threshold, he should be allowed an exemption from the rule.

“I can understand United Petroleum and Coles having an E10 mandate, because they are such major chains and they supply so much fuel,” he said.

“When you get a single-site small business owner who’s struggling week to week, now I’ve got someone turning around and telling me I’ve got to sell E10 at my own expense.

“If it keeps going like this I might have to shut my doors.”

Townsville MP Scott Stewart said the biofuel mandate was designed to support Queensland agriculture and to move towards a more sustainable fuel. He said a number of businesses were looking to start biofuel production in North Queensland and the mandate would have benefits for Townsville’s economy.

Mr Stewart said he would raise Mr Nannestad’s concerns with the Energy Minister Mark Bailey.

“We do realise there are some problems and constraints placed upon various fuel stations, particularly the independents,” he said.

“We’re willing to work with businesses to ensure that we can deliver a good product that can support our agriculture industry and also help our small businesses.”

Extracted from Townsville Bulletin.