Nationals attack Howard on energy


Oil oligopoly: Nationals Senator Ron Boswell said Prime Minister John Howard’s Energy Statement still allowed the oil companies a stranglehold on fuel supply and distribution in major markets.

Govt inadequacy: Boswell questioned whether the Government had done enough to bring lower cost biofuels to ordinary Australians.

Control of LPG: He criticised the package for its concentration on LPG and accused major companies of "controlling the production and distribution of LPG".

Below biofuels target: He added that the major oil companies were still only accounting for about 10 megalitres of biofuels in the transport fuel mix. "That is a long way from the promised 98 to 124 megalitres," he said.

Paltry ethanol funding: Of the $1.6 billion in the package, just $17.2 million was allocated to further develop the ethanol market he said.

Potential market: Yet ethanol was cheaper than petrol and Australia could be producing 110 megalitres of it if only oil companies would sell it.

Mainly independents: Ethanol was available only at about 260 of the nation’s 6300 outlets, he said, and most of them were independents.

Companies fare poorly: Just 41 of Caltex’s 1790 outlets sold it, 25 of Shell’s 1110 and 50 of BP’s 1300. Mobil did not sell it at all.

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