Alternative-fuel vehicles as a proportion of the total fleet
- Compared with 2013, sales of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) in 2014 increased by more than 50 %, continuing an upward trend since 2008. Nevertheless, electric vehicles (EVs) continue to constitute only a very small fraction of new vehicle registrations in the EU‑28.
- According to the most recent estimates, the share of alternative fuel passenger cars in the total fleet has remained constantly around 5 % over the last five years, with liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cars playing a dominant role. The number of electric vehicles (EVs) has grown, but represents only a minor proportion (0.07 %) of total passenger car fleet numbers.
Are alternative-fuel powered vehicles increasing as a proprotion of the total vehicle fleet?
The number of electric cars in Europe is increasing due to factors such as financial incentives, increased public acceptability and market availability. The cars in question may be 'pure' battery EVs (BEVs), plug-in hybrid EVs (PHEVs) or EVs with range extender engines.
Sales of BEVs increased by more than 50 % in 2014, compared with 2013, continuing an upward trend since 2008. Sales were greatest in France where more than 10 000 BEVs were sold), followed by Germany with 8 500 sales. A large number of EU Member States (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom) offer financial incentives, such as tax reductions and exemptions, for electrically chargeable vehicles. Other measures include, for example, allowing EVs to use bus lanes. Nevertheless, EVs continue to constitute only a very small fraction of new registrations in the EU‑28 (0.3 %) compared with, for instance, liquefied petroleum gas (1.1 %). Hybrid vehicles are usually not distinguished from conventional petrol and diesel vehicles in official statistics, so their numbers can only be estimated. While in 2001 only two hybrid vehicle models were offered in the EU, and only about 2 000 were sold, more than 30 hybrid models available, and more than 130 000 are sold. However, hybrid vehicles still only make up some 0.5 % of new vehicle sales in the EU.
Among non-EU EEA countries, Norway is the leading market for EVs in terms of market share. Almost 14 % of new cars sold in Norway during the first half of 2014, were electric (including PHEVs and BEVs).
LPG cars dominate the alternative fuel passenger car fleet. The number of LPG passenger cars almost doubled between 2005 and 2014, reaching 10 million vehicles in 2014. Poland and Italy are the leading countries with 2.6 million and 2.4 million cars respectively. LPG cars account for about 4.2 % of the overall passenger car fleet in the EEA-33. This percentage has remained rather constant over the last five years. Registrations of new LPG passenger cars reached a peak in 2009, when a figure of 3.6 % of the total number of new registrations boosted the total percentage of new registrations of alternative fueled cars to 3.75% of the total number of new registrations. A major drop in new LPG car registrations was observed in 2011, when registrations dropped to 0.7 % of total new passenger car registrations due to changes in economic incentive schemes.
The number of natural gas (NG) passenger cars almost tripled between 2005 and 2014. At 1.2 %, they represent a small percentage of the total passenger car fleet. The number of NG passenger cars is only significant in Italy (about one million).
LPG has approximately 80 % of the energy content of petrol per litre, while for compressed or liquid natural gas, the volumetric energy content of NG ranges from 5 to 1.8 times less than petrol. Despite this reduced energy content, both alternatives are considered to be promising fuels for the future, mainly due to their widespread availability, alternative energy pathway to oil that they offer and the low CO2 yield per unit of energy delivered.
At about 1.6 % of the total fleet of Light Commercial Vehicles (LCVs) and 1.8 % of buses, the percentage of alternative fuel LCVs and buses is lower than that of passenger cars.
NG buses have shown an increasing trend over the years, although in 2014, they accounted for less than 1 % of the total bus fleet. The numbers of LPG and electric (mainly trolley) buses are much lower and have remained rather constant over the last 4-5 years. France, Germany, Italy, Sweden and Turkey are the only countries with significant numbers (above 600) of NG buses.
Numbers of LPG LCVs are increasing, but they still only account for some 1 % of the total LCV fleet, whereas at about 0.5%, the number of NG LCVs is much smaller. Poland is the only country with a significant number of LPG LCVs (about 200 000), while Italy has the highest number of NG LCVs (about 91 000). The registration of new alternative fuel LCVs remains low, with figures slightly above 1.2 % between 2012 and 2014.
Indicator specification and metadata
This indicator measures alternative-fuel vehicles as a proportion of the total vehicle fleet. This is defined as the number of vehicles (by vehicle type and fuel) per total number of vehicles (by vehicle type).
The units used in this indicator are the total population of passenger cars, light commercial vehicles and buses by alternative fuel type (LPG, NG and electric).
Policy context and targets
A number of policies have been adopted that contribute to meeting targets set at EU level. This includes the 20-20-20 policy package, which came into force in 2009. This package sets two targets: an overarching 20 % cut in greenhouse gas emissions in Europe below 1990 levels by 2020; and a 60 % reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from transport below 1990 levels by 2050, as set out in the 2011 Transport White Paper.
The CO2 emissions targets for new cars and vans contribute to meeting these targets. Regulation 443/2009 sets a CO2 ‘specific emission’ target of 130 grams per kilometre (g/km) by 2015 for new passenger cars sold in the EU. A long-term target of 95 g/km has been set for 2020. Specific targets for vans have also been introduced in Regulation 510/2011. The first target level (175 g/km), has been phased in since 2014 and be reached in 2017, and a second target level (147 g/km) should be reached in 2020.
There are no specific objectives or targets related to the number of different types of alternative fuel vehicles as a proportion of the total vehicle fleet. Policy objectives are rather set with respect to the environmental performance of newly registered passenger cars and vans.
Related policy documents
REGULATION (EC) No 443/2009 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL 443/2009
Regulation (ec) no 443/2009 of the European parliament and of the Council setting emission performance standards for new passenger cars as part of the community's integrated approach to reduce CO2 emissions from light-duty vehicles.
REGULATION (EU) No 510/2011
REGULATION (EU) No 510/2011 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL setting emission performance standards for new light commercial vehicles as part of the Union's integrated approach to reduce CO 2 emissions from light-duty vehicles
Methodology for indicator calculation
Alternative-fuel vehicles (LPG, NG, electric) as a proportion of the total vehicle fleet for each vehicle type (passenger cars, light commercial vehicles, buses) is calculated by dividing the number of alternative fuel vehicles by the total fleet for each vehicle type.
Methodology for gap filling
Data gaps are filled either by interpolation, where data between reported data are missing, or by using the first (or last) reported value.
No methodology references available.
Data sets uncertainty
The data on the stock of alternative-fuel vehicles mostly come from statistical sources and are hence considered reliable. Data on new registrations are also reliable as they are officially submitted by EU Member States as part of their CO2 reporting obligations. Sibyl and EC4MACS have been used to fill data gaps.
Common Questionnaire for Inland Transport Statistics (Eurostat)
provided by Statistical Office of the European Union (Eurostat)
Vehicle fleet by vehicle category (EC4MACS model)
provided by European Commission
Transport (Primary topic)
Typology: Descriptive indicator (Type A - What is happening to the environment and to humans?)
- TERM 034
Contacts and ownership
EEA Contact InfoDiana Vedlugaite
EEA Management Plan2015 1.1.2 (note: EEA internal system)
Frequency of updates
- 01 Mar 2013 - Proportion of vehicle fleet meeting certain emission standards
- 12 Jan 2011 - Proportion of vehicle fleet meeting certain emission standards
- 03 Sep 2010 - Proportion of vehicle fleet meeting certain emission standards
- 21 Apr 2009 - Proportion of vehicle fleet meeting certain emission standards
- 28 Sep 2006 - Proportion of the vehicle fleet meeting certain emission standards (by mode)
- 28 Sep 2003 - Proportion of the vehicle fleet meeting certain emission standards (by mode)
- 01 Jun 2001 - Proportion of vehicle fleet meeting certain air and noise emission standards
- 01 Jun 2001 - Proportion of vehicle fleet meeting certain air and noise emission standards
For references, please go to http://www.eea.europa.eu/data-and-maps/indicators/proportion-of-vehicle-fleet-meeting-4/assessment or scan the QR code.
PDF generated on 16 Jan 2017, 05:18 PM