My environmental credentials took a knock last Wednesday when I took delivery of a diesel VW Touran, only to discover that VW specifically forbids the use of biodiesel in it. Most VW models can (like a lot of diesel vehicles) use biodiesel to EN14214, although in some cases a modification is necessary. VW's advice to its own dealers is that biodiesel is not permitted for the Touran, and there is no modification kit available.

Don't be caught out like me: ask about biodiesel capability when specifying your next car. Loads of makes and models can use it, and it does no harm to get dealers used to the idea that we might want it (my VW dealer got really interested in the subject when I phoned up to see if all really was lost).

Read more: see the Guardian Society section, Weds 14 Sept, page 9 for an informative and enlightening article on biodiesel; also ditto, page 8 on Weds 2 Nov, regarding potential use in London buses. Locate UK filling stations supplying biodiesel from the list at (where you can also learn more about the pros and cons); or find small-scale refining kits to make your own (in quantities of 100 litres per day or more).

Lobby your MP (a) to remove road fuel duty from biodiesel, which will create more incentive for filling stations to supply it; and (b) to discourage the sale of new diesel vehicles that are not biodiesel-capable.

V.V. 20 Nov 05