Use of cleaner and alternative fuels

Indicator Assessment
Prod-ID: IND-28-en
Also known as: CSI 037 , TERM 031
Created 12 Nov 2013 Published 12 Dec 2013 Last modified 04 Sep 2015, 06:59 PM
Note: new version is available!
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All EU Member States are to achieve a 10 % share in renewable energy by 2020 for all transport options. Individual Member States progress towards this target varies. As a reference, the average share of renewable energy across the EU‑28 consumed in transport between 2010 and 2011 increased from 3.5 % to 3.8 %. These figures include only those biofuels which met the sustainability criteria. In 2011 EUROSTAT has for the first time published the share of biofuels in transport energy use which meet the sustainability criteria of the Renewables Directive (Art. 17 & Art. 18, 2009/28/EC). The data shows that in 2011 3.8% of the energy consumed in transport was renewable, most of it from biofuels meeting the sustainability criteria. Most Member States require significant further increases in order to reach the Directive’s target for a 10% share of renewable energy in transport by 2020. In 2011, the unweighted average EU-27 sulphur content was 5.7 ppm for petrol, and 7.0 ppm for diesel. An EU specification came into force on 1 January 2009, which limits the sulphur content of all automotive road fuels to a maximum of 10 ppm. Reductions in the sulphur content of fuels are expected to have a large impact on exhaust emissions as they will enable the introduction of more sophisticated after-treatment systems.

Key messages

All EU Member States are to achieve a 10 % share in renewable energy by 2020 for all transport options. Individual Member States progress towards this
target varies. As a reference, the average share of renewable energy across the EU‑28 consumed in transport between 2010 and 2011 increased from 3.5 % to 3.8 %. These figures include only those biofuels which met the sustainability criteria.

In 2011 EUROSTAT has for the first time published the share of biofuels in transport energy use which meet the sustainability criteria of the Renewables Directive (Art. 17 & Art. 18, 2009/28/EC). The data shows that in 2011 3.8% of the energy consumed in transport was renewable, most of it from biofuels meeting the sustainability criteria. Most Member States require significant further increases in order to reach the Directive’s target for a 10% share of renewable energy in transport by 2020.

In 2011, the unweighted average EU-27 sulphur content was 5.7 ppm for petrol, and 7.0 ppm for diesel. An EU specification came into force on 1 January 2009, which limits the sulphur content of all automotive road fuels to a maximum of 10 ppm. Reductions in the sulphur content of fuels are expected to have a large impact on exhaust emissions as they will enable the introduction of more sophisticated after-treatment systems.

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

Share of renewable energy consumption in transport

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Share of renewable energy consumed in transport

Biofuels compliant with the Renewables Directive
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Average sulphur content of road transport fuel

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Data sources: Explore chart interactively

The EU Biofuels Directive has created a favourable legislative framework in most Member States and has therefore triggered rapid market implementation of biofuels. The share of biofuels in the EU-28 in 2010 was 4.6 % 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 on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources. All Member States have set national targets detailing how they propose to comply with the overall target of a 10 % share of renewable energy supply in the transport sector by 2020, where only biofuels complying with the sustainability criteria under the RED are to be counted towards this target. Accordingly, the most recent data show that in 2011 only 3.8 % of the energy consumed in transport is renewable, when including only those biofuels which met the sustainability criteria (an increase of 9.8% compared to 2010, when also applying these criteria).

An EU specification came into force on 1 January 2009, which limits the sulphur content of all automotive road fuels to a maximum of 10 ppm. While in 2009 and 2010 some of the EU-27’s new Member States still exceeded the limit for diesel fuels it was met by all Member States in 2011. Surprisingly, the data for 2011 show that Bulgaria breached the limit for petrol while having complied in previous years.  Reductions in the sulphur content of fuels are expected to have a significant impact on exhaust emissions through facilitating the introduction of more sophisticated after-treatment systems such as diesel particulate filters, as well as improving the efficiency and durability of existing exhaust after-treatment systems.

Under the new Directive 2009/28/EC on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources (repealing two previous Directives) the share of renewable energy use in transport rises to a minimum 10 % in every Member State by 2020. The new directive on renewable energy also aims to ensure that only sustainable biofuels are used in the EU, which generate a clear and net GHG saving and have no negative impact on biodiversity and land use. Only biofuels complying with the sustainability criteria under the RED 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 is accounted for 2.5 times the energy content of the input of electricity from renewable energy sources, while the contribution of biofuels produced from wastes, residues, non-food cellulosic material, and ligno-cellulosic material is considered twice that of other biofuels. Nevertheless, the 10% target is expected to be met primarily through biofuels.

For the year 2011 EUROSTAT has for the first time published the share of biofuels in transport energy use which meet the sustainability criteria of the RED, even though the systems for certifying sustainable biofuels were not yet fully operational in a number of Member States.. The graph above shows that in 2011 only 3.8% of the energy consumed in transport is renewable, including only those biofuels meeting the sustainability criteria and has increased by 9.8% compared to 2010. The consumption of energy from renewable sources would have been much closer to the 5.75% target set in the original Biofuels Directive (2003/30/EC) when all biofuels are taken into account, as its share is 5.1% in 2011. In the previous year (2010) where biofuels were measured without sustainability criteria their share was 4.6%. This means that Member States are further away from meeting the RED target of a 10% sustainable biofuel share by 2020 than may have been anticipated from data from the past years. The difference between nominal biofuel share and biofuel share meeting the RED criteria is most notable for France, Portugal and Slovakia. Despite these countries having some of the highest biofuel shares in Europe, only a small fraction of these meet the sustainability criteria. However, the graph only shows biofuels as the share of renewable sources in the transport sector, even though other sources, especially renewable electricity, could eventually contribute.

Indicator specification and metadata

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.

Units

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.

Targets

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).

Methodology

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. 

Uncertainties

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

-

Data sources

Generic metadata

Topics:

Transport Transport (Primary topic)

Tags:
renewable energy | sulphur | fossil fuels | biofuels
DPSIR: Response
Typology: Policy-effectiveness indicator (Type D)
Indicator codes
  • CSI 037
  • TERM 031
Dynamic
Temporal coverage:
2001-2011
Geographic coverage:
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom

Contacts and ownership

EEA Contact Info

Diana Vedlugaite

EEA Management Plan

2013 2.9.2 (note: EEA internal system)

Dates

Frequency of updates

Updates are scheduled once per year
European Environment Agency (EEA)
Kongens Nytorv 6
1050 Copenhagen K
Denmark
Phone: +45 3336 7100