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Japan to Begin Limited Sale of 7% ETBE Blended Gasoline

4 April 2007

Nikkei. A consortium of 10 oil distributors will soon take delivery of 7,500 kl (2 million gallons US) of ethyl tertiary butyl ether (ETBE)—an oxygenation additive made from ethanol and isobutene. The distributors will initially sell a 7% ETBE blend at 50 gas stations.

The ETBE blend will be sold at the same price as unblended gasoline. Use of biofuels and bio-additives in Japan is limited, partly due to a lack of domestic feedstocks for current technology.

However, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has set a goal of replacing 500,000 kl (132 million gallons US) of conventional fuel used for transport with biofuels, of which the oil industry will be responsible for 210,000 kl. This step is estimated to help shave carbon dioxide emissions by 1.2 million tons a year.

Many expect that only 36,000 kl to 46,000 kl worth of the government’s biofuels target will be produced domestically. Either way, though, the cost will be high.

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