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Ethyl Alcohol

Volume 979: debated on Wednesday 20 February 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Energy what the differential is in price between ethyl alcohol produced by accelerated fermentation of organic materials and petrol processed in an oil refinery, the likely date of parity pricing and the implications for the motor car industry.

It is estimated that ethyl alcohol derived from sugar or grain purchased at world market prices would, at present, cost 2–3 times as much to produce as petrol derived from crude oil. Because of the large amount of energy used up in its production it is unlikely, given current technology, that ethyl alcohol will move to a parity price with petrol. Motor spirit containing up to 10 per cent. ethyl alcohol (often referred to as "Gasohol") could be used in the existing car fleet without any implications for the motor car industry. Motor spirit containing more than this amount of ethyl alcohol might require modifications to vehicles.