Indicator Fact Sheet

Uptake of cleaner and alternative fuels

Indicator Fact Sheet
Prod-ID: IND-28-en
  Also known as: TERM 031
This is an old version, kept for reference only.

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This page was archived on 26 Aug 2017 with reason: A new version has been published

Assessment made on  01 Aug 2003

Generic metadata



DPSIR: Driving force


Indicator codes
  • TERM 031

Policy issue:  Switch to cleaner and renewable fuels


Key assessment

The phase-out of leaded petrol is one of the most successful integration policies in the European Union. Unleaded petrol was introduced in Europe in 1985. The share of unleaded petrol increased on average by 10.4 % per year during the last decade, reaching over 90 % in 2000. With the ban on leaded petrol in Greece and Italy - as of January 2002 - leaded petrol is no longer sold in the EU.

In the acceding and candidate countries the process of phasing out leaded petrol started around five years later than in the EU. In spite of the lack of complete data-series, it is known that leaded petrol is no longer sold in the acceding countries with the exception of Cyprus and Malta where no data are available. In Iceland and Norway, leaded petrol has not been sold since 1999.

An important factor boosting replacement of leaded with unleaded fuel has been the requirement of catalytic converters for both imported and domestically produced cars, starting in 1993 in Slovakia. Other acceding countries soon followed (Slovenia 1994, Poland 1995 and Hungary 1996).

It is important to note that although one normally assumes that the unleaded fuel use is related exclusively to the number of passenger cars fitted with catalytic converters, this may not be entirely correct. It is observed that unleaded fuel is used extensively even by non-catalytic cars, since it is generally cheaper because of incentives.

Although many Member States have introduced incentives to promote low and zero sulphur fuels, there are not enough statistical data for a complete assessment of the progress achieved so far.

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