Certa doubles number of HVO-ready forecourts as Škoda urges more drivers to use low emission biofuel amid diesel sales surge

A Škoda Karoq fuelled by Certa-supplied HVO.

Certa has launched HVO pumps at three more of its forecourts bringing the total of HVO-ready Certa outlets to six.

The leading fuel supplier’s new HVO-ready forecourts are located in Maynooth in Kildare, Dundrum in Dublin and Ballyhaunis in Mayo. They join the existing three in Liffey Valley in Dublin, Lee Tunnel in Cork and Trim in Meath.  

The expansion doubles the number of Certa forecourts now supplying Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) at their existing pumps alongside petrol and diesel. 

Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil is a new second generation, low-carbon biofuel that serves as a direct replacement for regular diesel without any need for vehicle or engine modifications. It is produced using waste plant-matter and hydrogen, which means it does not release any additional carbon emissions into the atmosphere and can result in a 90% net reduction in CO2 emissions.

Certa was the first energy operator in Ireland to open a fully-fledged HVO fuel station when it made the fuel available at the pumps in its forecourt in Liffey Valley in October of last year. 

The latest expansion comes as the company continues to partner with Škoda Ireland on a new joint campaign aimed at creating awareness of the benefits of using HVO as a replacement for diesel and encouraging existing owners and would-be buyers of new diesel cars to make the switch.   

The Škoda and Certa awareness campaign was launched in March and included radio and online advertising. Sales of HVO at Certa’s Liffey Valley forecourt in Dublin have risen by 29% in the last two months, suggesting an increased awareness of the benefit of the fuel and an increased willingness among diesel car owners to source it. 

The total car market in Ireland has increased by 6% for the first four months of 2024. The most recent figures showed that sales of diesel models rose by 11%, the first increase for diesel vehicles after four consecutive years of decline. Diesel has bounced back in 2024, with 1 in 4 cars sold in Ireland now a diesel. Škoda is achieving record sales this year and is currently occupying second position in the Irish market with 7,578 vehicles delivered to customers.  A total of 58% of the brand’s sales have been diesel-powered. This is a 30% increase on 2023 and means Škoda is the biggest supplier of diesel cars in the Irish market.  

A driver pulling up at a Certa HVO pump.

As a leading car manufacturer, Škoda is acutely aware that sales of diesel and petrol-powered cars are scheduled to end in 2035 and that pure electric cars are now clearly the best and most sustainable option for new car buyers. The brand already sells two electric-only models with plans to offer six electric-only models by 2026. It also sells hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles with the newly launched Škoda Superb PHEV and Kodiaq PHEV both featuring a 100km electric driving range. 

Škoda, however, also recognises the status and potentially important role of HVO as a transition fuel and a cleaner alternative to diesel and, as such, is seeking to encourage both existing owners of diesel cars and any buyers of new diesel cars to consider HVO as an alternative.

As it is a relatively new fuel, HVO biofuel is usually sold at a slightly higher cost than diesel. However, Certa currently has an offer which matches the prices of HVO with that of diesel. The company, which is part of DCC plc, is in the process of upgrading its network of 41 unmanned, pay@pump forecourts to offer HVO.  

In addition to the existing six, Certa is planning to have four more forecourts HVO-ready by the end of this year. 

HVO is distinguished at fuel pumps through the use of a pink nozzle, which stands out from the black diesel and green petrol ones.

In Ireland, HVO is expected to meet a large proportion of the increase in biofuel supply to decarbonise the transport sector and is considered a vital transition fuel as electric powered vehicles continue to become more mainstream.  

HVO can be used as a direct replacement for diesel in a wide variety of fleet, plant and machinery equipment in addition to passenger cars. It can also be mixed with diesel in any ratio. The performance of diesel engines using HVO is near identical to when they are fuelled with diesel.  

Škoda has also confirmed that all their diesel models manufactured from mid-2021 are HVO-ready. As part of the HVO awareness campaign, Škoda launched an online vehicle checker where owners of diesel Škoda models can enter their registrations to confirm their car’s HVO-readiness. The tracker and more information on HVO can be found online here.

Owners of non-Škoda vehicles are advised to confirm with their manufacturer or dealer concerning HVO compatibility prior to use of the fuel. HVO should not be confused with first generation biodiesel or other vegetable oil products, which should not be used in Škoda vehicles.

Orla Stevens, Managing Director of Certa said: “At Certa, our goal is to make it easy for motorists to transition to HVO as a renewable alternative to diesel. HVO’s benefits are well-established, and we believe drivers of diesel cars will switch to using HVO if there are aware of it and are able to access it.

“As part of our campaign with Škoda, we announced that we are in the process of increasing the availability of HVO and we are now pleased to confirm that we have six HVO-ready forecourts with a further four coming on stream very soon. Motorists wanting to use HVO just need to look out for the pink nozzle at the pumps.”

John Donegan, Brand Director at Škoda Ireland, said: At Škoda, we recognise the importance of electric vehicles, but we also recognise that many buyers are still choosing diesel models for a variety of reasons as illustrated by recent sales figures. For these motorists, switching to HVO today can lead to an immediate and significant reduction in their emissions. We are delighted to partner with Certa on this initiative and Certa should be commended for the progress the company is making in increasing the availability of HVO in Ireland”