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You are here: Home / Data and maps / Indicators / Use of cleaner and alternative fuels / Use of cleaner and alternative fuels (CSI 037/TERM 031) - Assessment published Dec 2013

Use of cleaner and alternative fuels (CSI 037/TERM 031) - Assessment published Dec 2013

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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 Czechia Denmark Estonia Finland France Germany Greece Hungary Ireland Italy Latvia Lithuania Luxembourg Malta Netherlands Poland Portugal Romania Slovakia Slovenia Spain Sweden United Kingdom
 
Contents
 

Key policy question: Is EU's progress towards promoting cleaner and alternative fuels satisfactory?

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.

Share of renewable energy consumption in transport

Chart
Data sources: Explore chart interactively
Table
Data sources: Explore chart interactively

Share of renewable energy consumed in transport

Biofuels compliant with the Renewables Directive
Data sources: Explore chart interactively
Table
Data sources: Explore chart interactively

Average sulphur content of road transport fuel

Chart
Data sources: Explore chart interactively
Table
Data sources: Explore chart interactively

Key assessment

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.

Data sources

More information about this indicator

See this indicator specification for more details.

Contacts and ownership

EEA Contact Info

Cinzia Pastorello

Ownership

EEA Management Plan

2013 2.9.2 (note: EEA internal system)

Dates

Frequency of updates

Updates are scheduled once per year in October-December (Q4)

Comments

European Environment Agency (EEA)
Kongens Nytorv 6
1050 Copenhagen K
Denmark
Phone: +45 3336 7100