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No real progress in reducing EU reliance on fossil transportation fuels - ePURE

The European Union (EU) has a long way to go reduce its reliance on fossil fuels, according to the latest data from the European Commission. More than 94 percent of European transport energy is still fossil-derived while the Commission SHARES data shows that this is, in fact, only a slight decrease from 95.8 percent in 2009. This fossil fuel dependence continues despite the Renewable Energy Directive (RED), requiring Member States to meet a 10 percent renewable target in transport in 2020.

Share of renewable energy sources in transport, 2017 in % of gross final energy consumption (source & graphic courtesy Eurostat).

Share of renewable energy in transport, 2017 in % of gross final energy consumption (source & graphic courtesy Eurostat).

According to the new figures, it would seem that the majority of Member States are failing to meet the 10 percent renewables in transportation by 2020 target. At Member State level, only two countries, Finland and Sweden, have achieved their targets.

Across the EU-28, renewable energy accounted for just 7.6 percent of the transport energy mix as of 2017. As the European Renewable Ethanol Association (ePURE) point out, that number would actually be only 5.5 percent if it were not for the use of ‘multipliers’ which artificially inflate the accounted quantities of certain energy sources.

At the current pace, it is difficult to estimate when the 10 percent renewable energy in transport target will be reached. Most of the renewable energy share in transport increase since 2009 is coming from artificial quantities of renewable, which exist only on paper.

In reality, the quantities of renewable in the transport energy mix have increased at a very slow pace since 2009. Most of what was achieved in 2017 is the result of the important increase between 2004-2009 which is before the RED adoption.

E10 with European ethanol part of the solution

However, ePURE highlight that the EU can do better, already now, by using more crop-based biofuels such as European renewable ethanol. Even though their contribution is limited at the EU level, crop-based biofuels remain the main renewable energy contributor in the European transport sector.

They work in today’s cars and infrastructure, and their GHG-reducing impact – more than 70 percent on average in the case of European ethanol – is immediate. Maintaining a 7 percent crop-cap for 2020-2030 would be crucial in order to deliver real GHG savings.

That’s why the EU and its Member States should promote the use of low-carbon fuels, for example by encouraging the use of E10, a petrol blend with up to 10 percent ethanol.

As European Renewable Ethanol Association (ePURE) point out, renewable energy in transport 2017 would actually be only 5.5 percent and not 7.6 percent if it were not for the use of ‘multipliers’ which artificially inflate the accounted quantities of certain energy sources. Roll-out of crop-based fuels like E10 would go a long way and fast (graphic courtesy ePURE).

As European Renewable Ethanol Association (ePURE) point out, renewable energy in transport 2017 would actually be only 5.5 percent and not 7.6 percent if it were not for the use of ‘multipliers’ which artificially inflate the accounted quantities of certain energy sources. Roll-out of crop-based fuels like E10 would go a long way and fast (graphic courtesy ePURE).

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