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Use of cleaner and alternative fuels

Indicator Specification Created 18 Mar 2003 Published 18 Mar 2003 Last modified 08 Mar 2016, 12:40 PM
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Indicator codes: CSI 037 , TERM 031


Justification for indicator selection

EU legislation has set requirements for the share of renewable sources in transport by 2020. This indicator has, therefore, been selected to follow the above policy issues by monitoring the progress achieved.

The promotion of renewable energy is essential for reducing greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide.

Scientific references

  • No rationale references available

Indicator definition

The ratio determining a Members State’s share of renewable energy in transport consumption (RES-T) is defined in Article 3 (4) of the RES Directive.

The denominator of the ratio, i.e. the total amount of energy consumed in transport, is calculated using only petrol, diesel, biofuels consumed in road and rail transport, and electricity.

For numerator of the ratio, i.e. the amount of energy from renewable sources consumed in transport, con0siders all types of energy from renewable sources consumed in all forms of transport.

To calculate the numerator and denominator of the RES-T share, the contribution of electricity produced from renewable sources and consumed in all types of electric vehicles is used. Member States may choose to use either the average share of electricity from renewable sources in the Community, or the share of electricity from renewable energy sources in their own country as measured two years before the year in question. Furthermore, for the calculation of the electricity from renewable energy sources consumed by electric road vehicles, that consumption shall be considered to be 2.5 times the energy content of the electricity input from renewable sources.


Final energy consumption of biofuels, petrol and diesel, and electricity for transport are measured in kilotonnes of oil equivalent (ktoe). The decision to use ktoe as the main calculation unit was made due to the choice of reporting units in the Template for Member State progress reports under Directive 2009/28/EC.

Policy context and targets

Context description

In April 2009, Directive 2009/30/EC was adopted, revising the Fuel Quality Directive [Directive 98/70/EC]. It amends a number of elements of the petrol and diesel specifications, as well as introducing, in Article 7a, a requirement on fuel suppliers to reduce the greenhouse gas intensity of energy supplied for road transport (Low Carbon Fuel Standard). Fuel suppliers must reduce emissions by 6-10 % by 2020 (relative to 2010 fossil fuels). In addition, the Directive establishes sustainability criteria that must be met by biofuels if they are to count towards the greenhouse gas intensity reduction obligation. 

The EU Biofuels Directive has created a legislative framework in Member States and has therefore triggered rapid market implementation of biofuels. In 2010, the share of biofuels in the EU-28 was 4.8 % of all petrol and diesel sold for transport purposes, still somewhat below the original policy objective under Directive 2003/30/EC to reach 5.75 % by the end of 2010. These targets were subsequently revised following the adoption of Directive 2009/28/EC, subsequently amended in 2013 and again in 2015, on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources (repealing two previous Directives). The revision sees the share of renewable energy use to be used in transport rising to a minimum 10 % in every Member State by 2020. The new directive on renewable energy also aims to ensure that only sustainable biofuels that generate a clear and net greenhouse gas saving and have no negative impact on biodiversity and land use are used in the EU. Only biofuels complying with the sustainability criteria under the Renewable Energy Directive are to be counted towards this target and, therefore, proper monitoring is only possible from 2010. In addition, to stimulate the growth of certain shares of renewable energy sources in transport, renewable electricity in electric road vehicles accounts for 2.5 times the energy content of the electricity input from renewable energy sources. Similarly, the contribution of biofuels produced from wastes, residues, non-food cellulosic material, and ligno-cellulosic material is considered to be twice that of other biofuels. Nevertheless, the 10 % target is expected to be met primarily through biofuels.

Member States are required to report to the Commission annually on (1) the measures taken to promote the use of biofuels or other renewable fuels to replace diesel or petrol for transport purposes, (2) the national resources allocated to the production of biomass for energy uses other than transport, and (3) the total sales of transport fuel and the share of biofuels, pure or blended, and other renewable fuels placed on the market for the preceding year.


The Renewable Energy Directive (RED, 2009/28/EC) set a target for all Member States to reach a 10 % share of renewable energy in transport by 2020.

The White Paper (EC, 2011) provides objectives for decarbonising transport fuels in aviation and shipping: “Low carbon sustainable fuels in aviation to reach 40 % by 2050; also by 2050 reduce emissions from maritime bunker fuels by 40 % (if feasible 50 %) compared to 2005 levels.” In both sectors it is anticipated that the majority of these targets would need to be met through the utilisation of sustainable biofuels.

Related policy documents

  • DIRECTIVE 2001/77/EC Renewable electricity
    Directive 2001/77/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 September 2001 on the promotion of electricity produced from renewable energy sources in the internal electricity market
  • Directive 2003/30/EC, use of biofuels and renewable fuels
    Promotion of the use of biofuels and other renewable fuels for transport. Directive 2003/30/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 8 May 2003 on the promotion of the use of biofuels and other renewable fuels for transport.
  • DIRECTIVE 2009/28/EC
    DIRECTIVE 2009/28/EC OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 23 April 2009 on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources and amending and subsequently repealing Directives 2001/77/EC and 2003/30/EC
  • Regulation (EC) No 1099/2008 on energy statistics
    Regulation (EC) No 1099/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 October 2008 on energy statistics (OJ 2008 L 304, p. 1).

Key policy question

Is the EU on track towards the promotion of cleaner and alternative fuels?


Methodology for indicator calculation

The share of renewable energy sources in transport is calculated by dividing renewable energy consumption by total energy consumption, including petrol and diesel.

The ratio determining a Member State’s RES-T share is defined in Article 3 (4) of the RES Directive, where, for the calculation of the denominator, the consumption of petrol for transport, diesel for transport, biofuels used in road and rail transport and electricity used in any mode of transport are taken into account. For the numerator, compliant biofuels (liquid and gaseous) used in all modes of transport, and employing the respective multipliers where applicable 2x renewable electricity in transport and 2.5x for road transport as defined in Article 21(2)), plus hydrogen of renewable origin in all modes of transport and other forms of renewable energy consumed in the transport sector are also taken into account.

Methodology for gap filling

No gap-filling is applied. 

Methodology references

  • SHARES Tool Manual Shares Tool Manual: Describes the Shares Tool that is designed to collect and present the information – the energy data – that are needed for the calculations as defined in Article 3 (transport sector) and Article 5 (overall target) of the Directive. 

Data specifications

EEA data references

  • No datasets have been specified here.

Data sources in latest figures


Methodology uncertainty

No uncertainty has been specified

Data sets uncertainty

The data are collected on an annual basis by the European Commission and can be considered reliable and accurate. The requirement for data collection for low and zero sulphur fuels and biofuels is mandatory, and the results are harmonised at the EU level.

Rationale uncertainty


Further work

Short term work

Work specified here requires to be completed within 1 year from now.

Work description

Planned changes: For the medium-term plans, information about share of renewables used in the generation of electricity would be useful to assess the uptake of “cleaner fuels” by trains and electric cars. Furthermore, information on the quality of fuels used for shipping (both inland and maritime) and aviation is needed to provide a full picture of progress made in cleaner fuel use in the whole transport sector. The indicator should somehow reflect the influence of the amended Fuel Quality Directive (FQD, 2009/30/EC) for which Member States are required to report on the lifecycle GHG intensity of road transport fuels. Efforts on indicating the performance with respect to meeting biofuels sustainability criteria/targets should also be placed. It will also be important to include the uptake of second generation of biofuels when applicable.

Resource needs

Budgetary, technical, resource or scientific needs: In order to improve the quality of the indicator, further technical (in particularly data) resources on non-road transport are needed.


In progress


2015/12/31 00:00:00 GMT+1

Long term work

Work specified here will require more than 1 year (from now) to be completed.

General metadata

Responsibility and ownership

EEA Contact Info

Diana Vedlugaite


European Environment Agency (EEA)


Indicator code
CSI 037
TERM 031
Version id: 1
Primary theme: Transport Transport


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Frequency of updates

Updates are scheduled once per year


DPSIR: Response
Typology: Policy-effectiveness indicator (Type D)
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