EU vehicle standards: the renewable fuel sector calls for a more inclusive approach

  NEWS & INTERVIEWS, Sustainable Mobility

In an open letter, 12 associations highlight the principle of technological neutrality and the risk of leaving a part of Europe behind

The European Union should recognize “the contribution of sustainable renewable fuels” in carbon dioxide standards for vehicles. In other words, it should stick to the principle of technological neutrality in its proposed review of the standards, as part of the “Fit for 55” package containing 12 measures to achieve the 55% greenhouse gas emission reduction target by 2030.

This is the appeal made in an open letter to the EU by 12 European renewable fuel associations: AECC – Association for Emissions Control by Catalyst, CLEPA – European Association of Automotive Suppliers, CO2 Value Europe, EBB – European Biodiesel Board, eFuel Alliance, ePure, EWABA – European Waste-based & Advanced Biofuels Association, FuelsEurope, Methanol Institute, NGVA – Natural & bio Gas Vehicle Association, Upei – The voice of Europe’s independent fuel suppliers and VDMA – Mechanical Engineering Industry Association.

According to the signatories, such recognition would support production expansion of low or zero carbon dioxide fuels “in a timely, socially and economically efficient manner without leaving anyone behind.

The letter dated 2 July addressed to the Vice-President of the EU Commission, Frans Timmermans, and Commissioners Adina-Ioana Vălean (Transport), Kadri Simson (Energy) and Thierry Breton (Internal Market) emphasized that “an internal combustion engine (ICE) powered by sustainable renewable fuels has a carbon footprint comparable to that of an electric vehicle powered by green electricity” and that “sustainable renewable fuels are fully compatible with existing vehicles, logistics infrastructures and fuel service facilities”.

According to representatives of the sustainable road transport value chain, increasing the use of these fuels is viable and can expand the benefits of electrification and a “holistic” perspective that goes beyond the mere assessment of exhaust emissions alone.

In their opinion, this shift in focus could also bring about “relatively minor regulatory changes”, particularly as regards the introduction of a “voluntary accreditation mechanism for renewable and sustainable fuels in the vehicle carbon dioxide policies”. This would also ensure “a level of consumer choice and access to mobility for all European citizens”.

The various associations involved also highlight the risk of “a multi-speed Europe” and “leaving a significant number of European consumers behind”, especially in central, eastern and southern Europe, where vehicles in circulation are older, as well as consequences affecting employment. In short, “a more inclusive approach is needed, which evaluates the impact of all low carbon emissions technologies”, the signatories conclude while declaring their willingness to collaborate with the Commission to develop “an integrated strategy”.