Research

Biofuels in Canada 2022: Tracking biofuel consumption, feedstocks and avoided greenhouse gas emissions

October, 2022

Summary

Navius Research has released the 2022 edition of “Biofuels in Canada”. This analysis uses public data to catalog the volume of transportation biofuels consumed in each Canadian province while estimating the impact of biofuel consumption on greenhouse gas emissions and transportation energy costs from 2010 to 2020, with an estimate for 2021. It includes a similar analysis of fuel and GHG impacts resulting from the use of light-duty electric vehicles and co-processed renewable fuels.

Highlights:

  • Ethanol consumption has increased from roughly 1,700 million L/yr in 2010 to 2,665 million L/yr in 2020. However, ethanol consumption in 2020 declined by over 300 million L/yr relative to 2019 (-11%) due to the reduction in overall fuel consumption during the COVID pandemic.
  • Although ethanol consumption declined in 2020 relative to 2019, gasoline consumption declined proportionally more. Consequently, the blend rate of renewable fuels in gasoline increased to 7% in 2020, up from about 6.5% in 2019.
  • Biomass-based diesel consumption actually increased during the pandemic, rising by more than 100 million L/yr (13%) relative to 2019, with total consumption reaching almost 900 million L/yr. In 2020, biomass-based diesel accounted for 3.6% of the volume of blended diesel fuel.
  • Despite a reduction in overall biofuel consumption in 2020 relative to 2019, annual avoided greenhouse gas (GHG)emissions increased slightly to about 5.9 MtCO2e/yr. Because of declining biofuel carbon intensities, avoided emissions in 2020 were greater than in 2019, even though the total volume of renewable fuel was lower. GHG emissions avoided by the use of light-duty plug-in electric vehicles were estimated at 0.6 MtCO2e/yr in 2020, up from 0.5 MtCO2e/yr in 2019.
  • The average GHG abatement savings/costs from 2010 to 2020 from the consumers’ perspective was -127 $/tCO 2e  in the gasoline pool and 162 $/tCO 2e  in the diesel pool.
  • On net, we estimate that biofuel consumption reduced fuel expenditures in Canada by $1.3 billion, or about 0.13%, from 2010 through 2020, relative to a counterfactual scenario without biofuel consumption.
  • Because of differences in fuel energy densities and fuel costs, consumers in Canada have paid more taxes as a result of biofuel blending and consumption, relative to a counterfactual scenario without biofuel consumption. These “surtaxes” have grown to a cumulative total of $2.7 billion from 2010 through to the end of 2020.

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Click the image above to download the spreadsheet.

Download the report or the spreadsheet model.

This study was commissioned and funded by Advanced Biofuels Canada.

To learn more about this research, please contact Michael Wolinetz.

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