The usefulness of biofuels acknowledged by the French Cour des Comptes

12/11/2012
 - Press release
Sofiprotéol welcomes a report from the French Cour des Comptes (National Audit Office) that has highlighted the usefulness of biofuels to the community: additional income for the Government; energy independence and protection of the environment; support for agriculture and a reduction in the French protein deficit.

Sofiprotéol welcomes a report from the French Cour des Comptes (National Audit Office) that has highlighted the usefulness of biofuels to the community: additional income for the Government; energy independence and protection of the environment; support for agriculture and a reduction in the French protein deficit. 

  • In a document published on Tuesday 24 January, the Cour des Comptes evaluated French policies in favour of biofuels.  Even though this report underestimates many of the advantages of biofuels, many points in it support the stance adopted by Sofiprotéol, which has been developing "Diester" biodiesel for the past 20 years and which defends the usefulness of government policies in favour of biofuels. 
  • Concerning the cost of biodiesel and bioethanol support policies, the Cour des Comptes thus stated that "the Government will make a profit from both sectors as from 2012, even if tax subsidies are continued until 2015".


In other words, the tax income (TIC (domestic consumption tax) and VAT (sales tax)) received by the Government thanks to the production and consumption of biofuels more than compensates for the partial tax relief from which they benefit.  This relief currently stands at €8 per hectolitre for biodiesel.
However, the income received by the State, and mentioned by the Cour des Comptes, does not take account of the indirect income linked to the jobs created and investments achieved throughout the biodiesel sector (€970 million during the past five years).
 

  • The report overvalues the additional costs to consumers of public support policies: this additional cost represents less than 2 centimes per litre of diesel (between 1.59 and 1.75 centimes).  This supplement is less than the price variations observed from one fuel station to another, which can reach 10 centimes a litre.
  • The report does mention the role played by biofuels in the energy independence of France, but underestimates its importance. France imports about 10 million tonnes of diesel each year, mainly from Russia.  And the production of biodiesel represents 2 million tonnes, or 20% of imports.
  • The Audit Office underlines the impact of biofuels on protecting the environment, but its view is not sufficiently balanced.  It recalls that the European Renewable Energy Directive requires Member States to introduce a 10% share of renewables in the energy consumed by transport between now and 2020.  But it should be pointed out that 1st generation biofuels are essential if these targets are to be met.  In addition, it should be remembered that according to the ADEME report in 2010, which is an authority on this subject, biodiesel reduces greenhouse gas emissions by between 59% and 72%, depending on the raw materials used (rapeseed or sunflower).
  • But the report opportunely highlights the role of biofuels in the generation of by-products, notably rapeseed oilcake which can replace imported soybean oilcake and is an essential component in livestock feed.  Thus the Cour des Comptes acknowledges the importance of biofuels to the food industry.  Thanks to biofuels, protein self-sufficiency in France has risen from 30% in 1980 to more than 55% today.  So by manufacturing Diester biodiesel, Sofiprotéol can produce nearly 2.2 million tonnes of oilcake each year in France.  This oilcake supplies the protein ration for 2.7 million dairy cows, or 75% of the French herd.

Press contact
Catherine Bozon,  Press Relations Officer, Sofiprotéol
Tel.: +33 (0)1 77 45 70 74 - Mobile : +33 (0)7 86 41 24 68 - Email : c.bozon@prolea.com

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