Swedish motorists turn to ethanol

Swedish motorists are increasingly turning green, choosing to run ethanol-driven cars. Last year the number of ethanol run cars on the road went up to 13,400 - an increase of 67%, according to according to Miljöfordon, an environmental organization based in Gothenburg.

With the government pushing for more environmental fuels, Statoil announced on Thursday that is to open up to 90 ethanol pumps (E85) at its petrol stations across Sweden. At present the company runs approximately 30 E85 pumps but tby the end of 2006 the company plans to have over 120 E85 pumps in operation.

In a press statement, Statoil claimed that the government’s proposal to force oil companies to offer more environmentally friendly fuels law “is completely unnecessary.” Ulf Svahn, a spokesman for Statoil, claimed market forces alone were pushing up the number of environmentally friendly ethanol pumps.

Statoil’s immediate strategy is to place the new E85 pumps in the major cities and along the main European highways.

Ethanol E85 (85% ethanol and 15% petrol) is produced for the increasing number of cars able to run on either E85 or regular petrol.

A further substantial increase in the number of ethanol-compliant cars is predicted this year with Ford, Saab and Volvo all expected to launch environmentally friendly models.


‘KKK’ flag mishap messes up Swedish pump makeover

The chain of petrol stations formerly known as Statoil proudly displayed its new flags this week, until a passer-by spotted an unfortunate gaffe.

'KKK' flag mishap messes up Swedish pump makeover
Uh oh! New Circle K flags at the Länna service station. Photo: Alexander Lindell/TT

As The Local reported on Wednesday, Statoil’s stations in Sweden are in the process of being rebranded as Circle K. 

And everything was going according to plan until a 17-year-old Swede saw three new Circle K flags in a row and “immediately thought of the Ku Klux Klan”, he told newspaper Aftonbladet. 

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A picture he took of the petrol station caused much hilarity on the hugely popular Imgur picture-sharing site and on Reddit, where it was posted under the title: 

“Somebody clearly didn’t think this through…”

“Or they did,” replied one mischief maker. 

Another user elicited belly laughs with the comment: 

I can only imagine the call from corporate?

“How many K flags are you flying, Sven?”

“Six, sir. 3 on each side.”

“So you have three K flags hanging in a row?”

“… I gotta go, sir. “

Circle K’s spokesman Johan Backman said he was aware the flags’ meaning could be misconstrued. 

“We’re going to change how we flag to avoid interpretations,” he told the Nyheter 24 news site. 

The company acted fast, and Reddit readers were soon treated to what appeared to be an old Statoil flag flanked by a pair of Circle Ks.  

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Circle K hopes the rebrand will make women and young people think more about tasty roadside treats and less about North Sea oil fields. And, of course, it wants them not to think even for a second about an American racist hood-wearing sect.