The fuel forecourts that offer carbon offsetting

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TAKING the children to school before continuing into the office, returning home and turning on the oven to prepare dinner and then settling down in a warm lounge for the evening… it is a routine familiar to countless householders across the Island and yet this seemingly innocuous lifestyle contributes greatly to the world’s carbon emissions.

But, as Jersey strives to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030, one fuel company is helping Islanders to offset their carbon emissions through two simple initiatives.

‘As a fuel provider, we understand that we have a significant impact on the environment and we are therefore keen to do all we can to minimise our carbon footprint,’ explained ATF Fuels director Jon Best. ‘Last September we introduced a dedicated Drive Carbon Neutral fuel pump at our two forecourts at Maufant and Augres. If motorists choose to fuel their car from this pump, they pay an extra two pence per litre and that money goes to internationally accredited schemes which fully offset their vehicle’s carbon emissions.’

The response, says Mr Best, has been encouraging, with approximately 25% of customers choosing this option.

‘Their actions have offset over 500,000 litres of fuel since September and raised thousands of pounds for Jersey Trees for Life, with whom we initially partnered, and the Jersey Community Fund, who now allocate all the money we collect to various environmental projects,’ he added.

‘We have also launched a similar scheme for our domestic customers whose homes or business premises have oil-fired heating and cooking facilities. This initiative is linked to a premium grade of kerosene which we supply, which increases a boiler’s efficiency and cleans up any soot deposits which build up over time. Anyone who opts to use this premium-grade fuel is automatically enrolled in the carbon-offset scheme. We can also do the same for businesses that have a fleet of vehicles and on-site refuelling provision’.

Having introduced these carbon-offset schemes because of their ‘simplicity and affordability’, Mr Best says that the company – which set up in Jersey in 2014 – is also reviewing other measures which, with government support, could help the drive towards carbon neutrality.

‘Liquid bio fuels, which are made from renewable sources, already exist and have the potential to replace fossil fuels,’ he said. ‘One of these fuels, HVO, can replace diesel in road transport. While there are currently cost and supply issues associated with HVO, mainly because only a handful of refiners in Europe are currently producing it, this fuel is a direct drop-in replacement for diesel. While supply levels mean that we cannot yet offer this at our forecourts, we can provide it for commercial customers.’

With the fuel undergoing tests in the UK to obtain approval from vehicle manufacturers and UKIFDA (the trade body for liquid fuels), Mr Best believes that it is only a matter of time before HVO will be more widely used for both vehicles and domestic heating.

And that is not the only innovation in fuel which he is keen to see Jersey adopt.

‘Since 2008, petrol in the UK and Europe has been blended with ethanol, a biofuel made from renewable sources. In the autumn, the level of ethanol in the mix will go up to 10% in the UK, something which already applies in many European countries,’ Mr Best said. ‘The nature of our supply chain means that all the fuel we bring into the Island is blended but there is no mandate in Jersey stipulating that this should be the case. While this biofuel only accounts for a small percentage of the overall fuel, it is a drop-in replacement for petrol. While some investment would be needed to introduce a fuel-blending facility at La Collette, this is a quick win which would help to reduce carbon emissions.’

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