Dominique de Villepin on 15 May announced new measures to boost the use of biofuels in vehicles and reduce the country's rising oil bill on its way to a "post-oil" era.
Villepin's key measure is to increase the blending of biofuels with conventional oil to 10% per volume by 2015, an objective which is "twice as much as European objectives," according to the French PM. Public procurements to build 16 new biomass-based factories were launched in 2005, representing a total investment of 2 billion euros, he announced.
Villepin's objective is to ensure that, "by the end of the decade" every French citizen can buy a vehicle able to run on high biofuels blends. He said the vehicles would either be petrol cars which can run on "nearly pure" ethanol or diesel cars which can integrate "high blends" of biofuels.
In this context, Villepin said he wanted to see a genuine network of "green refuelling stations", saying these are already a reality in Brazil and Sweden.
An action plan will be presented "by the summer" which will bring together car manufacturers, oil distributors, farmers and consumers, he announced.
Other measures include:
- A commitment by oil producers to invest 4 billion euros in new refining capacity as well as research by the end of the decade
- A big push for solar power with:
- the state covering half the installation cost of a solar roofing
- a commitment by EDF to buy solar electricity at double the current price
- A commitment to raise by 50% the price at which biogas is bought from farms and other waste storage facilities