German Buyer Strike Stops Ethanol

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

German motorists won an important battle against ethanol. They used a downright un-German tactic: Widespread insurrection. They simply won’t buy the stuff. An edict handed down from Brussels ordered that Super has to contain 10 percent of ethanol. An alliance from Germany’s ADAC autoclub to Greenpeace said the new gasoline is a work of the devil, it is liable to ruin cars, and the environment. That didn’t impress Brussels. But then, a buyer strike did set in.

Motorists in Germany shun the ethyl with ethanol and buy 98 Super Plus high-test instead, reports Das Autohaus from Germany. Refiners and gas stations are sitting on full tanks of unsold Super E10. On the other hand, there already are shortages of the more expensive, but also more energy-laden Super Plus.

Yesterday, gasoline companies pulled the emergency brake and declared that they would stop the roll-out of Super E10 in Germany. The pathetic petrol is only available in less than half of Germany’s gas stations.

Economy Minister Brüderle joined the fray and does what he does best: Run down the clock. He announced a “gasoline summit” where stakeholders should explain their position. No date has been set. At the summit, pretty much everybody will be against the bio-benzene: Customers don’t want it, auto clubs warn against it, environmentalists such as Greenpeace warn that the fuel will increase CO2 production. “E10 can ruin cars and the environment,” says Greenpeace.

The European Auto Maker Association ACEA is pouring gasoline in the fire by publishing compatibility lists that add to the widespread confusion.

Says the list: “It is important to note that the compatibility of vehicle with petrol depends both on the petrol octane rating and its ethanol content. The vehicle’s octane requirement must be met and the ethanol content of the petrol may not exceed the compatibility limit. In case of doubt, drivers are advised to contact their dealer.”

No wonder everybody avoids it like the devil the holy water.

Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href=""> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href=""> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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  • Bimmer Bimmer on Mar 04, 2011

    I also fill up with Shell V-Power, as it contains no corn juice. I believe that Premium gas from Petro Canada also ethanol free. So far I know for sure that all grades of Husky gas have at least 10% of ethanol, so I wont be buying their fuel. Last Summer when I just purchased my car and used regular gas, I could hear pinging on hard acceleration. It disappeared with use of high grade octane, eventhough my car was designed to run on 87.

    • See 4 previous
    • Steve65 Steve65 on Mar 04, 2011

      If he can afford to use a vintage Ferrari as a regular driver, he can afford to pay a few extra dollars per fillup to avoid having to put E10 in it.

  • Herb Herb on Mar 04, 2011

    People in Germany are simply fed up. Aside from the owners of about 3 - 5 million cars that simply won't run with E10 gas, the others do know very well that long-term test results with this gas regarding engine durability are not available. What they know is, that they would neither get money from the manufacturer nor from government should they ran into any problems. So, they take the more expensive fuel and wait and see. After using this stuff and having an up-to-date car with low mileage certified for E10 I have noticed an increase in consumption of about 6 to 8% going well beyond the 3% conceded by professional do-gooders. BTW: The cheapest gas (i.e., E10) today in my area is 5.87 Euro per gallon. E5 gas is 6.21 Euro per gallon, 102 octane gas is 6.36 per gallon (assuming 3.79 liters as a gallon). This is just one reason why politicians and oil company executives DO need bodyguards.

  • Analoggrotto I did a dozen or so laps around Atlanta Motorsports Park for a charity once. Camber and toe on my car were horribly wrong and made the entire experience awful.
  • Tassos Jong-iL The Peninsula of One Korea.
  • Eric No, I just share my opinions. I have no use nor time for rhetoric from any side.
  • Redapple2 Jeez. This is simple. I 75 and 696 area. 1 nobody -NOBODY wants to work in downtown Detritus. 2 close to the tech ctr. Design and Engineering HQ. 20 miles closer to Milford.3 lower taxes for the employees. Lower taxes for Evil GM Vampire.4 2 major expressways give users more options to suburbs. Faster transport.Jeez.
  • Clark The Ring (Nürburgring) is the only race track I've driven on. That was 1985 or 1986 with my '73 Fiat Spider (and my not-so-happy girlfriend). So I made the Karussell (today: Caracciola Karussell, which I believe the author meant; there is another one: Kleines Karussell).