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Taxing talk

Letters

I understand that, in California, there has already been a substantial take up of biofuels, even though they are more costly than fossil fuels. Here we have a huge advantage over California, in that most of what we pay for diesel is tax.

If the government were serious about CO 2, then a tax regime which reduced the tax on biofuels so that the pump price was about the same as fossil fuel would get the ball rolling.

Every oil company would hurry to get biofuels on to the market. Every car maker would be racing to make cars that run efficiently on the biofuels.

Farmers, currently paid not to produce crops, could make real crops of maize or sunflower. Low cost African economies could do likewise. And we could have a worthwhile industry leading the world in biofuel vehicles.

And we would stop mining and wasting 4.5bn years of deposits in a couple of hundred years.

I know it can work. One of our buildings in Mauritius is being used to make ethanol from sugar cane, and they are already adding 20% of this to petrol. Why 20%? Because cars will run on this with no modification.

With just one approach we could eliminate 35% of our CO 2; and this could spread to the rest of the world.

Rollo Reid, rollo@reidsteel.co. uk

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