10/27/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 10/27/2020 07:48
Transport represents almost a quarter of Europe's Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions with road transport accounting for more than 70% of this share, and has a strong impact on air pollution in urban areas. Driven by a growing demand in mobility and freight, and despite improvements in the efficiency of engines, the sector has not seen a similar decline in emissions when compared to other sectors.
Its decarbonisation is hindered by a strong dependency on conventional petroleum-based fuels. Alternative and renewable gaseous and liquid fuels with lower GHG intensity represent a unique opportunity to reduce the GHG footprint of both new and existing vehicles.
Overall emission reductions from road transport cannot be achieved simply by improving the performance of new vehicles. The vast majority of the 313 million vehicles already on EU roads run on petrol and diesel. According to ACEA statistics, 97% of new car sales in 2019 were vehicles with Internal Combustion Engines (ICE), which will stay on the road for 11+ years. Rapid decarbonisation and air quality improvements require new and parallel measures be taken to enable the reduction of emissions from older vehicles, such as LPG retrofit programmes or higher blends. During a time of economic recession where new car sales are forecasted to drop by 25%, measures other than new vehicle purchase programmes should be deployed to ensure a just social transition towards the overall goal of carbon neutrality and clean air.
To match the increased ambitions of the European Green Deal, including the 2030 Climate Target Plan, solutions to reduce GHG emissions from road transport, and decrease its reliance on imported conventional petroleum-based fuels must be urgently implemented. The EU should not dismiss solutions with a proven track record of availability, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness, and should work on a stable and technology-neutral framework.
All available tools should be supported to enable lower emissions from road transport
The decarbonisation of the existing fleet is as much part of the solution as the introduction of zero and low-emission powertrains. ICE vehicles make up about 99% of the EU vehicle stock and will remain predominant in the coming decades; the Impact Assessment of the Climate Target Plan projected that they would still account for about 80% of the 2030 passenger cars fleet. To reach climate targets, low-carbon alternative and renewable gaseous and liquid fuels will be essential.
Further, different mechanisms and options for decarbonisation will need to be deployed in parallel to ensure that everyone from all social and economic backgrounds can contribute to environmental goals. One pragmatic solution is to incentivise a retrofitting programme for proven fuels, such as LPG, and engines suitable for higher blends of sustainable biofuels. The transport sector calls for better fuels, yet the current policy framework fails to appropriately reward alternative solutions.
Remove all barriers in existing legislation
Existing policies should be revised to meet the increased ambitions of the European Green Deal. Consistency between the Fuel Quality Directive and the Renewable Energy Directive is of utmost importance: these two Directives should have harmonised targets and consider the same obligated parties.
All alternative fuels must play a role in the energy transition
The European Commission should maintain the current definition of alternative fuels in the upcoming review of the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive (AFID). While not all alternative fuels as defined by AFID are within the scope of infrastructure deployment, these fuels remain cleaner alternatives to conventional petroleum-based fuels, and should maintain this position to ensure the right market signal of continued support and private investments. Especially given that some of these fuels will be instrumental in addressing emissions from the existing fleet.
The co-signatories are committed to work with EU policymakers to ensure that all existing alternative fuels contribute to the decarbonisation of EU road transport. The above principles will deliver an ambitious EU Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy.