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Many governments worldwide require that a minimum percentage of biofuels be blended into conventional fossil fuels used in transportation. This is an effective way for governments to incentivise the growth of the emerging biofuels industry, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fight climate change.

Federal renewable fuel regulations/ Canadian biofuels mandates

The Government of Canada has committed to attaining specific blending rates of biofuels into conventional fuels in order establish self-sufficiency of the biofuels industry:

5% ethanol in gasoline (E5)

Implemented in 2010

2% biodiesel in diesel fuel and heating distillate oil (B2)

Implemented in 2011

* See full regulations  here

Lead: Environment Canada

For example, gasoline in Canada must contain a minimum of 5% ethanol (and 95% gasoline) on average, which is also referred to as E5. Often though, gasoline sold at the pump will be E10, but this is the threshold that regular cars can tolerate, which is called “the blend wall”. E85 can be sold at the pump, but only specially designed “flex-fuel vehicles” can use this blend.

Diesel engines are more adaptable to biofuels: under most conditions, 100% biodiesel can be used in conventional diesel vehicles. Here’s how to make you own biodiesel:

Current provincial biofuels mandates (2013)

In addition, many provinces in Canada have equivalent or higher provincial mandates. There are concerns, however, that inconsistencies between federal and provincial requirements may create barriers to the the flow of biofuel trade within Canada.

British Columbia

Ethanol: 5%
Biodiesel: 4%


Ethanol: 5%
Biodiesel: 2% 


Ethanol: 7.5%
Biodiesel: 2% 


Ethanol: 8.5%
Biodiesel: 2%


Ethanol: 7.5%

Source: Canadian Renewable Fuels Association

* In addition, PEI has proposed that a provincial E5 and B10 (or B10 renewable equivalent) mandate be introduced by 2013 and doubled by 2018.

Source: Prince Edward Island Energy Strategy


The author,  Annie Webb, writes the blog Spaced-Out Scientist.

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