France Pushes Wider Use of Flex-Fuel Cars by 2007
He also said that at least 500 pumps of ethanol-based E85 fuel would be installed in main French cities and in motorway service stations by then.
France has a network of 13,000 fuel pumps.
"For the first time French consumers will have a wide access to the post-oil fuel," Breton told a news conference to launch a report on the flex-fuel cars.
"We have to arm ourselves against the new energy situation which is weighing on our economy," he added.
E85 is 85 percent ethanol, a biofuel derived from sugar beet or cereals. The report, coordinated by ex-Formula one racing driver Alain Prost, recommended that E85 should benefit from a reduced taxes to create an incentive for consumers.
"E85 should be cheaper than gasoline and closer to the price of diesel," Breton said.
A poll showed on Tuesday that 89 percent of respondents were ready to buy a car running on biofuel. The poll also indicated that 68 percent of the 1,007 polled between September 4 and 7 would be prepared to spend more on fuel to have a "clean" car.
France's biofuel production is mainly biodiesel, largely made from rapeseed and then blended with conventional diesel. Some 75 percent of French cars run on diesel and this share is expected to grow in the coming years.
Agriculture minister Dominique Bussereau said France had the agricultural capacity to supply demand for ethanol without resorting to imports or threaten needs for human consumption.
He added that 400,000 hectares of cereals and sugar beet out of 10 million hectares grown would be sufficient to satisfy the biofuel incorporation target of seven percent.
"We have to remain vigilant in upcoming (WTO) negotiations: we shouldn't substitute a dependency of imported fossil energies for a dependency of imported biofuels," Bussereau said.
He added that biofuels would represent 1.75 percent of French fuels in 2006 and 3.5 percent in 2007.
France aims to meet a 5.75 percent biofuel incorporation rate by 2008 and seven percent by 2010.
Breton added five car manufacturers would be in a position to supply the flex-fuel cars by 2007: US car maker Ford, Sweden's Saab and Volvo, and France's PSA Peugeot Citroen and Renault.