Use of renewable fuels in transport

Indicator Assessment
Prod-ID: IND-28-en
Also known as: CSI 037 , TERM 031
Created 08 Nov 2017 Published 08 Dec 2017 Last modified 26 Sep 2018
9 min read
Topics: ,
The proportion of renewable energy to total energy used by the transport sector is growing but remains small. Across the EU-28, the average share of renewable energy used in transport (RES-T) was 6.7 % in 2015 . These figures include only those biofuels that meet the sustainability criteria of the European Union’s (EU) Renewable Energy Directive (RED). All EU Member States are required to achieve a 10 % share in renewable energy by 2020, for all transport options. The progress of individual Member States’ towards this target varies, with most needing to increase significantly renewable energy use to get there. Initially, the EU supported biofuels as a way to help mitigate climate change, but time and research has shown that making fuels out of crops has led to deforestation and increased stress on land resources, as well as potentially inflating food prices. As such, a 7 % cap on the amount of biofuels made from crops has been proposed. Next generation biofuels made from waste or algae may not raise the same problems but will require large investments to achieve large scale production. In 2011, EUROSTAT published the first data on the share of biofuels in transport energy   that meet the sustainability criteria of the Renewable Energy Directive (Art. 17 & Art. 18, 2009/28/EC). In 2011, 4 % of the energy consumed in transport was renewable, most of it from biofuels that meet the sustainability criteria. Most Member States require significant further increases in order to reach the Directive’s target of a 10 % share of renewable energy in transport by 2020.

Key messages

  • The proportion of renewable energy to total energy used by the transport sector is growing but remains small. Across the EU-28, the average share of renewable energy used in transport (RES-T) was 6.7 % in 2015. These figures include only those biofuels that meet the sustainability criteria of the European Union’s (EU) Renewable Energy Directive (RED). All EU Member States are required to achieve a 10 % share in renewable energy by 2020, for all transport options. The progress of individual Member States’ towards this target varies, with most needing to increase significantly renewable energy use to get there.
  • Initially, the EU supported biofuels as a way to help mitigate climate change, but time and research has shown that making fuels out of crops has led to deforestation and increased stress on land resources, as well as potentially inflating food prices. As such, a 7 % cap on the amount of biofuels made from crops has been proposed. Next generation biofuels made from waste or algae may not raise the same problems but will require large investments to achieve large scale production.
  • In 2011, EUROSTAT published the first data on the share of biofuels in transport energy that meet the sustainability criteria of the Renewable Energy Directive (Art. 17 & Art. 18, 2009/28/EC). In 2011, 4 % of the energy consumed in transport was renewable, most of it from biofuels that meet the sustainability criteria. Most Member States require significant further increases in order to reach the Directive’s target of a 10 % share of renewable energy in transport by 2020.

Is the EU promoting the use of clean and alternative fuels?

Share of renewable energy in transport

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