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Friday, January 26, 2007

Eye On China: China One-ups President Bush

China Shoots for 25% Biofuels by 2020

[From Green Car Congress:]

The Chinese government plans to use liquid biofuels produced in rural areas to cut the country’s consumption of petroleum products by 10 million tons [roughly 72 million barrels], or more than 25%, by 2020.

China is the world’s third largest oil importer after the United State and Japan, and imported a record-high 36.38 million tons (about 267 million barrels) of refined oil products last year, 15.7% up on 2005, to fuel an estimated annual economic growth of 10.7% percent.

[Will China imitate the United States and turn to its cornfields to meet it's biofuels targets, or will they adopt a more sustainable (environmentally and economically) biofuel?]

In his State of the Union Address this week, US President George Bush unveiled his Twenty in Ten goal—a reduction in gasoline consumption of 20% in 10 years through the use of biofuels (15%) and increased fuel efficiency (5%).

China's one-uped you Mr. President! Mr. Bush's 20 in 10 proposal calls for biofuels to displace 15% of gasoline by 2017, while this Chinese proposal calls for biofuels to replace 25% of total national petroleum consumption.

On an absolute basis, the President's proposal does take the cake, calling for 35 billion gallons of biofuels by 2017, as compared to roughly 72 million barrels of oil equivalent, or nearly six billion gallons of ethanol.

Still, these are ambitious goals for China, and will help take a large chunk out of their growing oil consumption, if they can produce that much biofuel, that is (six billion gallons should be pretty achievable though).

I'm assume that China is calling for a 25% reduction over demand in 2020, not a 25% reduction over current demand, which would be much more ambitious. The president's proposal calls for a 20% reduction in gasoline consumption over forecasted demand in 2017, not a 20% reduction over current demand levels. While this amounts to a larger number in absolute terms, it means the US gasoline consumption, let alone petroleum energy consumption, may continue to increase in the future.

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