WAGGA’S independent petrol stations could be forced to the wall by the state government’s E10 petrol push.
The government will introduce legislation forcing any service station offering three or more types of fuel to offer E10 as well.
It’s part of the government’s push to raise E10’s share of fuel sold from three per cent across the state to six per cent.
“There will be people who walk away from selling fuel,” Silvalite Liberty service station manager Tim Towse said.
With the prime real estate set to open up, it could see major fuel retailers snap up land and servos on the cheap.
“That will eventually lessen competition,” Mr Towse said.
The Silvalite service station – often one of Wagga’s fuel price leaders, has recently had a substantial upgrade, with tanks and pipes double sealed and ground water monitors installed.
Mr Towse said if smaller service stations were forced to invest in order to satisfy the latest government requirement, some would leave the industry.
“In the long run, there’s a lot of outlay to make changes,” he said.
Mr Towse said the reaction to the fuel was mixed with some customers reporting it was great, while others swore off it.
“It always pays to check before putting (E10) in, but if it’s not working well you can always go back to 91 or 95 unleaded.”
Owner of The Engine Doctor, mechanic Michael Ryan said most modern engines had no issues with E10 fuel.
“The biggest downfall is the amount of fuel needed as it’s a lower octane,” he said.
Mr Ryan said engines would need to burn more fuel to travel the same distance.
While some cars specify premium unleaded, Mr Towse said some manufacturers were producing cars that were flexible with their fuel.
“I don’t see there’s a benefit to using a less efficient fuel.”
Mr Ryan said he was concerned about the government’s intervention into the market by mandating E10 fuel in service stations.
“It gives them this warm fuzzy feeling that they’re doing something for the environment.”
“Every system has its ups and downs … it’s more money to go the same distance.”
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