EU energy ministers have adopted the trilogue agreement for the revision of the carbon dioxide (CO2) emission standards for cars and vans after Germany secured the implementation of a workaround for vehicles running exclusively on electro-fuels (eFuels). Europe cannot afford to ignore transport decarbonization solutions that deliver immediate, proven greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction results – including sustainable biofuels says the European Renewable Ethanol Association (ePURE).
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According to ePURE, the Commission’s work plan takes a narrow and counterproductive view of which fuels can be considered ‘CO2-neutral’ to continue to be used in internal combustion engines after 2035, as it excludes all non-synthetic renewable solutions.
But there is still time to ensure more flexibility for the use of renewable fuels such as ethanol along with e-fuels to make a real emissions-reduction impact in the long term.
As EU policymakers set about determining the definition of carbon dioxide (CO2) -neutral fuels in the coming months, they should take into account the significant GHG-reduction score of EU renewable ethanol – 77 percent on average compared to fossil petrol and improving every year.
The proposal of the Commission supported by Germany to limit the scope of CO2-neutral fuels to electro-fuels (eFuels) arbitrarily restricts the range of solutions for drivers and car manufacturers.
Renewable ethanol is blended today with petrol (gasoline), displacing about 3.6 billion litres of fossil petrol in road transport each year in the EU and preventing the annual emission of almost 9 million tonnes of CO2eq.
The blending of renewable ethanol with e-fuels such as e-petrol will ensure compatibility and performance in thermic vehicles and provide a 100% renewable alternative to petrol cars in the current and future fleet.
Policymakers should also consider fuels and engine power trains on an equal footing, based on the full life-cycle of emissions from well-to-wheel and not just at the tailpipe.
A recent French study found that hybrid vehicles running with up to 85 percent renewable ethanol (E85) are just as climate-friendly as electric vehicles (EVs) if the full life cycle – including the European electricity-generation mix – is taken into account.
As several EU Member States argued in the negotiations, Europe still needs more than one solution to achieve meaningful transport de-fossilisation. Even in the future, the EU should take advantage of important synergies between renewable fuels and synthetic fuels delivering emissions reductions in the cars that Europeans will continue to drive for many years to come, said David Carpintero, Director General of ePURE.