§ Mr. Wakeham
I have been asked to reply.
Yes, my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has received many representations about unleaded petrol.
The Government have taken many steps to promote unleaded petrol. We played a major role in securing agreement in 1985 for the future introduction of unleaded petrol within the European Community. The unleaded petrol directive requires that member states should ensure the availability and balanced distribution of the fuel by October of this year. Regulations have been adopted which will require all new cars on sale in the United Kingdom to run on the fuel by October of next year.
My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer has progressively increased the duty differential in favour of unleaded petrol over a three-year period and this has resulted in the fuel being now on sale about 10p a gallon cheaper at the pumps than 4-star leaded petrol. A successful Government-funded advertising campaign was shown on television during April to motivate motorists to have their cars adjusted and to use the fuel. Numerous other initiatives have been implemented with considerable assistance offered by the private sector. The Motability lead-free campaign has been very successful in obtaining support from major companies to promote the fuel.
The success of these measures can now be seen in the rapid uptake of the fuel, which is now accounting for over 19 per cent. of the market. Unleaded petrol is readily available; at least 50 per cent. of petrol stations now stock it.