Use of cleaner and alternative fuels
Published (reviewed and quality assured)
- Use of cleaner and alternative fuels (CSI 037) - Assessment published Nov 2010
- Use of cleaner and alternative fuels (CSI 037) - Assessment published Sep 2010
- Use of cleaner and alternative fuels (CSI 037) - Assessment published Apr 2009
- Use of cleaner and alternative fuels (CSI 037) - Assessment published Oct 2005
Justification for indicator selection
All EU Member States are to achieve a 10 % share in renewable energy by 2020 for all transport (Renewable Energy Directive, 2009/28/EC). This target would be met primarily through biofuels, first or second generation.
EU legislation has set requirements for the sulphur content of fuels, as well as the minimum share of biofuels in its total fuel consumption. Thus, this indicator has been selected to follow the above policy issues by monitoring the progress achieved.
Sulphur-free fuels (<10 ppm) will enable the further decrease of pollutant emissions from road vehicles, while the promotion of biofuels is essential for reducing greenhouse gases and especially CO2.
Shares of low and zero sulphur fuels, and biofuels in total fuel consumption by road transport (in % of fuels sold for transport purposes). The shares of low and zero sulphur petrol and diesel are calculated by dividing the consumption of each fuel by the total fuel consumption of petrol and diesel respectively. The share of biofuels is based on their energy content and is thus calculated by dividing the energy consumption of biofuels by the energy consumption of all petrol and diesel sold for transport purposes.
Petrol and diesel fuels are measured in millions of liters and presented as shares of regular, <50 ppm sulphur and <10 ppm sulphur, respectively.
Final energy consumption of biofuels, diesel and gasoline for transport are measured in Terajoules net calorific values (NCV) and presented as a percentage of biofuels to the sum of all three fuels.
Policy context and targets
In April 2009, Directive 2009/30/EC was adopted which revises 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. Progress against the FQD target will be evaluated once annual progress reporting begins in 2012.
The Renewable Energy Directive 2009/28/EC (that repeals the previous 2003/30/EC) establishes a common framework for the promotion of energy from renewable sources. Under this directive, the share of renewable in transport rises to a minimum 10 % in every Member State in 2020.
It had been expected that the 10% target would be met primarily through biofuels. However there are growing concerns regarding the issue of indirect land use change (ILUC), which may substantially reduce the greenhouse gas emissions savings associated with the use of biofuels produced from crops used for food or feed. In October 2012 the European Commission published a proposal to limit to 5 % the use of food-based biofuels to meet the 10 % renewable energy target of the Renewable Energy Directive. In this case, non-crop-based second generation biofuels would therefore be needed alongside greater use of renewable electricity in transport.
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.
Low carbon sustainable fuels in aviation are to reach 40 % by 2050 and EU CO2 emissions of maritime bunker fuels are to be reduced 40 % (if feasible 50 %) by 2050 compared to 2005 levels. (EC, 2011a). It should be possible to monitor aviation fuel and maritime bunker fuels via GHG reporting for bunkers under the United Nations Framework on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Fuel suppliers are to reduce emissions of GHGs by between 6 % and 10 % by 2020 relative to 2010 fossil fuels (Fuel Quality Directive, 2009/30/EC).
EU legislation requires the reduction of the sulphur content of fuels to below 10 mg/kg (zero sulphur fuels) by 2009. This Directive 2009/28 requires that by 2020 the EU’s fuel consumption should have a 10 % share of renewables in the transport sector.
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, i.e.: “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 would be anticipated that the majority of these targets would need to be met through the utilisation of sustainable biofuels.
There are no specific targets for the percentage of the vehicle fleet that use alternative fuels, but the European Commission aims for European cities to be free of conventionally fuelled cars by 2050.
Related policy documents
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.
- COM (2004) 310 final. Quality of gasoline & diesel fuel used for road transport in the EU - 1st annual report
COM(97) 599 final. Energy for the future.
Energy for the future: Renewable sources of energy. White Paper for a Community strategy and action plan. COM(97) 599 final.
- COM(2005) 69 final. Quality of petrol and diesel fuel used for road transport in the European Union - Second annual report (Reporting year 2003)
- COM(2006) 186 final. Quality of petrol and diesel fuel used for road transport in the European Union - Third annual report (Reporting year 2004)
- COM(2007) 617 final. Quality of petrol and diesel fuel used for road transport in the European Union - Fourth annual report (Reporting year 2005)
Directive 98/70/EC relating to the quality of petrol and diesel fuels
Directive 98/70/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 October 1998 relating to the quality of petrol and diesel fuels, amended by Directive 2003/17/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 3 March 2003 [Official Journal L 76 of 22.03.2003]
It amends the Directive 98/70/EC relating to the quality of petrol and diesel fuels
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 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
DIRECTIVE 2009/30/EC OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 23 April 2009 amending Directive 98/70/EC as regards the specification of petrol, diesel and gas-oil and introducing a mechanism to monitor and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and amending Council Directive 1999/32/EC as regards the specification of fuel used by inland waterway vessels and repealing Directive 93/12/EEC
Strategy to reduce atmospheric emissions from seagoing ships
Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council, of 20 November 2002, "A European Union strategy to reduce atmospheric emissions from seagoing ships" [ COM (2002) 595 final, Volume I - Not published in the Official Journal].
Key policy question
Is EU's progress towards promoting cleaner and alternative fuels satisfactory?
Methodology for indicator calculation
The shares of low and zero sulphur petrol and diesel (in percentage) are calculated by dividing the consumption of each fuel (in tonnes) by the total fuel consumption of petrol and diesel respectively.
The share of biofuels (in percentage) is based on their energy content and is thus calculated by dividing its energy consumption (in tonnes of oil equivalent) by total energy consumption including petrol and diesel.
Methodology for gap filling
Methodology for extrapolation:
The final energy consumption time series contains an extrapolation to the latest available year (2010). The primary Eurostat dataset does not extend to 2010, so an extrapolation was made based on Eurostat monthly data on supply and transformation of oil-based products. The following assumptions were used:
- Maritime bunker final energy consumption was assumed to correlate with internal market deliveries of maritime bunker fuels;
- Road transport final energy consumption was assumed to correlate with an energy-weighted combination of internal market deliveries of motor gasoline and transport diesel;
- Aviation final energy consumption was assumed to correlate with internal market deliveries of kerosene – jet fuel.
Using these assumptions, final energy consumption in 2010 was extrapolated by the formula:
[Final energy consumption 2010] = [Final energy consumption 2009] * [Internal market deliveries 2010] / [Internal market deliveries 2009]
For other modes, final energy consumption was assumed to remain a constant in proportion to the sum of the above three modes. It is recognised that this is a very crude assumption, however the remaining modes account for less than 5% of the total final energy consumption in all recent years.
- Concepts used in Eurostat's Sirene database
- Eurostat's web page for data and metadata on transport statistics
- Concepts used in Eurostat's transport database
- Eurostat's web page for metadata on energy statistics
- Methodologies for estimating air pollutants from transport - Emissions factors for future road vehicles. Laboratory for Applied Thermodynamics (LAT). Thessaloniki, December 1998.
- Newly created MethodologyReference
EEA data references
- No datasets have been specified here.
External data references
Data sources in latest figures
No uncertainty has been specified
Data sets uncertainty
The data are collected on an annual basis by the European Commission and can thus be considered reliable and accurate. The requirement for the data collection for low and zero sulphur fuels and biofuels is mandatory and thus the results are harmonised at the EU level.
Short term work
Work specified here requires to be completed within 1 year from now.
Long term work
Work specified here will require more than 1 year (from now) to be completed.
Work descriptionRecent changes: Compared to last year the indicator on biofuels now includes almost all EEA member countries (except Liechtenstein). Also, the indicator on cleaner fuels now includes all EU-27, compared to EU-15 reported previously. 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 needsBudgetary, 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.
Deadline2015/12/31 00:00:00 GMT+1
Responsibility and ownership
EEA Contact InfoCinzia Pastorello
Typology: Policy-effectiveness indicator (Type D)