A British company may have the answer to soaring gasoline prices after it claimed Sunday to have become the first to have found a way to make fuel from garbage.

Ineos, a chemical company, said that it had patented a method of producing fuel from municipal solid waste, agricultural waste and organic commercial waste.

The company claims that it can produce about 400 litres (90 gallons) of ethanol from one metric ton (2,200 pounds) of dry waste.

The new process works by heating the waste to produce gases, then feeding the gases to bacteria, which produce ethanol that can be purified into a fuel.

Ineos plans to sell the environmental product in industrial quantities by the end of 2010.

Peter Williams, the chief executive of Ineos Bio, said: "This should mean that, unlike with other biofuels, we won't have to make the choice between food and fuel."

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