(EnergyAsia, May 8, Thursday) — A new nationwide poll released by the Canadian Renewable Fuels Association (CRFA) said that Canadians overwhelmingly support the national renewable fuels strategy to blend biofuels like ethanol and biodiesel in the nation’s fuel supply.

The lobby group said the national Praxicus Public Strategies Inc poll conducted April 23-27 shows that 74% support the 5% national standard for ethanol and the 2% national standard for biodiesel, and a further 67% support increasing the national renewable fuel blend to 10% and 5% respectively.that

The CRFA released the polls’ findings amid growing criticism around the world that the use of food crops such as corn, palm and sugar cane to produce fuel is causing runaway food price inflation.

In Canada, the government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper has started voicing concern and appears to be softening its advocacy for biofuels.  The UN, various social groups around the world and some analysts have also blamed biofuels for contributing to the recent outbreak of famine and food riots in poor countries.

But the CRFA insists that biofuels remain popular and viable in the country.

“This poll shows that Canadians are looking to renewable fuels to fuel change across the country,” said Gordon Quaiattini, president of the association.

“Canadians clearly support replacing some of our fossil fuels with renewable fuels such as biodiesel and ethanol. This will pay a variety of dividends: A cleaner, greener and more affordable source of energy that will strengthen economic prospects across Canada.”

The poll also shows that 69% of Canadians strongly believe that we need to grow beyond oil by developing environmentally friendly and viable alternatives to fossil fuels.

The association cited a recent report from Merrill Lynch if not for biofuels, crude oil would be trading 15% higher and gasoline would be as much as 25% more expensive.

It said that Canadian government studies and peer reviewed research show that ethanol and biodiesel are scientifically proven to reduce green houses gases compared to fossil fuels.

Canada is able to produce roughly one billion litres of ethanol and 100 million litres of biodiesel.  By 2012, that volume is expected to increase to more than 2.5 billion litres of ethanol and more than 500 million litres of biodiesel.

The renewable fuels industry is investing more than $1.5 billion in building production capacity in Canada and is helping to create 10,000 direct and indirect jobs and generating $600 million in annual economic activity.

“With oil at $120 a barrel, the case for viable alternatives to fossil fuels has never been stronger,” said Quaiattini. “Ethanol, biodiesel, cellulosic ethanol and next generation biofuels are our best hope to grow beyond oil with cleaner fuels and provide some relief for Canadian consumers at the pump.”

Founded in 1994, the CRFA is a non-profit organization with a mission to promote the use of renewable fuels for transportation through consumer awareness and government liaison activities.