HC Deb 11 March 1942 vol 378 cc1082-3W
Sir P. Hannon

asked the Secretary for Mines whether he can make a statement on the progress of experiments on the use of producer-gas for heavy road vehicles; and if the results so far indicate a saving in transport costs as compared with liquid fuel?

Mr. Grenfell

I am expecting within the next fortnight an interim report from the technical committee which is conducting road trials with various types of gas-producer equipment, but I understand that t will be some time before the service trials that the committee consider necessary can be completed. So far, I am not satisfied that the over-all costs of operating vehicles with gas producers are lower than with petrol.

Mr. E. Smith

asked the Secretary for Mines (1) what steps have been taken to save the consumption of petrol and imported oil by the use of alternative fuels; has he received the Report of the Committee that has investigated this matter; and what action is to be taken;

(2) whether as some countries insist on a certain percentage of vehicles being run on alternative fuels like producer-gas, this course has been considered for this country;

(3) whether he is satisfied on the practicability of the use of alternative home-produced fuel for providing power for all vehicles on the road; and what steps are to be taken to deal with this problem?

Mr. Grenfell

I am glad to have this opportunity of informing the House that since the outbreak of war very substantial savings in imported oils have been achieved by the use of home-produced coal tar oil. There has also been a considerable increase in the recovery of benzole. These developments follow recommendations of various committees set up to advise my Department at the outbreak of war. There is no likelihood of home-produced fuels being available for the operation of all road vehicles, but the feasibility of increasing the number of vehicles running on producer-gas is being actively investigated. The governing factor in the problem is that of coal supply. I shall be glad to give the hon. Member fuller information when it becomes available.