Climate Action

New poll finds 82% of Europeans are unaware diesel has palm oil added to it

A new poll conducted by Ipsos has found that the vast majority of Europeans do not know they are putting palm oil in their vehicles when filling up with diesel.

  • 21 November 2018
  • Rachel Cooper

A new poll conducted by Ipsos has found that the vast majority of Europeans do not know they are putting palm oil in their vehicles when filling up with diesel.

In recent times, there has been significant media coverage about the effects of palm oil deforestation. However, it has not been publicised that 51 per cent of all of the palm oil imported into Europe goes into our cars.

The poll, conducted with over 4,500 Europeans in nine countries, found that 82 per cent of citizens were unaware that diesel had palm oil added to it. UK fuel suppliers do not use palm oil biodiesel in any meaningful quantity which meant that they were not asked this question.

Despite their initial ignorance, most countries were opposed to using palm oil, 69 per cent of respondents said they were in support of ending the use of palm oil in diesel fuel.

This study has prompted an international coalition of environmental NGOs from across Europe to launch a campaign urging the European Commission to execute the phase out of palm oil in diesel in a delegated act by February 2019.

The coalition has launched a citizen’s petition, #NotInMyTank, to encourage the public to support the campaign.

Karin Lexén, Secretary General of the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation, said: “In Sweden there’s a strong and positive commitment to end the use of fossil fuels. The European Commission and Cecilia Malmström must ensure that the shift from fossil to renewable fuels doesn’t lead to rainforest destruction with an even higher negative impact on the climate and biodiversity than the use of fossil fuels.”

Giorgio Zampetti, Executive Director at Italy’s Legambiente, said: “We wanted cleaner fuels to save the environment, instead we have palm oil that destroys forests feeding diesel cars: it’s an unbearable paradox. This campaign will voice the concerns of the majority of Italians and Europeans, who are against it.”

This news follows a report by Greenpeace which found that Mondelez, a company that produces products for Cadbury and Oreo, has destroyed over 25,000 hectares of orangutan habitat from palm oil deforestation.