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Austria says to postpone introduction of E10 biofuel

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(VIENNA) - Austria will postpone the introduction of the new E10 petrol, Environment Minister Nikolaus Berlakovich said Monday, saying his country prefers to wait for EU clarification on the use of the alternative fuel.

"It is reasonable to suspend the introduction of E10 in Austria, for the moment, until the situation can be clarified on a European level," he said in a statement published Monday.

E10, which contains up to 10 percent ethanol currently made from food crops, was due to be available from October 1.

But the European Commission said Monday that it wants to limit the proportion of fuels made from food crops to just five percent by 2020.

Biofuels were once seen as a potential source of cheap alternative energy but critics say they are often based on food crops or use land that could and should be used for food production, helping drive prices higher.

E10 was launched in Germany in February 2011 while in France, the fuel has been available since 2009.

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