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NRMA wants the release of a report which explains the damage that may be caused to motor vehicles which use petrol containing large proportions of ethanol.

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Wednesday 11 December 2002



NRMA wants the release of a report which explains the damage that may be caused to motor vehicles which use petrol containing large proportions of ethanol.



LINDA MOTTRAM: One of Australia's leading motoring organisations, the NRMA, is calling on the Federal Government to release a report into the dangers associated with the use in cars of ethanol-laced petrol. 


The Federal Government says that
the report is still being considered by the Department of the Environment and that it's only a summary of the existing evidence. 


But motoring organisations and consumer groups are demanding that the report be made public. 


Jo Mazzocchi reports. 


JO MAZZOCCHI: Just how damaging is ethanol to cars, owners and the environment? That's the question motoring and consumer groups want answered and they believe the answers can be found in a report that's currently in the hands of the Federal Government, a report that shows the scientific research on the effects of high concentrations of ethanol. 


The NRMA's Chief Executive, Rob Carter is calling on the Government to immediately release the report. 


ROB CARTER: We don't have a copy of the report but what we understand it to be saying is consistent with our own research into the potential impacts of excessive amounts of ethanol on cars, that quite serious corrosion of parts can occur and that there can be serious damage to fuel lines as a result. 


JO MAZZOCCHI: Car makers and consumer groups have been lobbying for a ten per cent cap on ethanol, but blends of 20 per cent ethanol are sold in about 200 outlets across New South Wales. 


Rob Carter says motorists need protection. 


ROB CARTER: The benefit of the doubt, as I say, must go to the motorists, there must be an immediate capping at 10 per cent and secondly there has to be clear labelling requirements at petrol stations.  


As a motorist I need to know what I'm buying, how much ethanol is in that fuel you're selling me. 


JO MAZZOCCHI: But Federal Environment Minister David Kemp denies the report is secret. 


DAVID KEMP: It's stage one of a scientific study, it's already been given to all interested parties. The report clearly states that the impact of a 20 per cent ethanol blend on engine and fuel system durability of the Australian vehicle fleet is unclear. In terms of engine wear, the literature reviewed is vague, leaving only the valid conclusion that testing is required to obtain data to form a view. 


JO MAZZOCCHI: But if it's so unclear and the results are inconsistent, doesn't that add greater weight to the push by motoring and consumer groups for a 10 per cent cap on ethanol? 


DAVID KEMP: Well, 20 per cent blends have been available in New South Wales since 1994. The Government with responsibility to protect consumers if there are any difficulties is the New South Wales Government and Bob Carr should be asked why New South Wales has not put in place a regime to inform consumers in the same way that other States such as Queensland have done. 


LINDA MOTTRAM: Federal Environment Minister, David Kemp, speaking to Jo Mazzocchi.