In just seven years Sweden hopes to be the world’s first nation to be completely free of any sort of oil dependency. It might sound a bit ambitious but when you consider that, thanks to the oil crisis of the 1970s, oil accounted for 77% of Sweden’s energy consumption in 1970 and by 2003 that number fell to only 32%.
“Our dependency on oil should be broken by 2020,” said Mona Sahlin, former minister of Sustainable Development. “There shall always be better alternatives to oil, which means no house should need oil for heating, and no driver should need to turn solely to gasoline.”
The Renewable Energy Directive (RED) requires 10% of Europe’s fossil fuel in transport to be replaced with liquid biofuels by 2020. The majority of biofuel produced is sold as a low-admixture (ethanol and biodiesel) to fuel companies for blending with fossil fuel. The blending ratio is 5% biofuel to 95% fossil fuel. About 80% of low-admixture ethanol is imported from Brazil.
In 2006, the government passed a “pump law” to require larger Swedish fuel stations (selling more than 3,000 cubic meters of gas or diesel per year) to provide a replacement fuel option. Also, starting in 2009, all small stations that sell more than 1,000m3 per year were required to meet the same standard.
Considering that the price of oil has more than tripled since 1996 Sweden isn’t just looking at this from an environmental point of view, they see it as smart financial move as well. While the rest of the world is basically pointing and laughing at Sweden for being “too ambitious” they’re moving forward with their plan.
It’s doubtful that we’ll see the United States follow Sweden’s lead anytime soon considering that in 2012 Exxon fell just short of literally setting a world record of profits, earning $44.9 billion. Sadly they missed breaking the world record for profits in a single year, a record which they set in 2008 earning $45.2 billion in profit.