The EU Refining Industry supports the principle of seeking cost-effective solutions to improve air quality.
AMBIENT AIR QUALITY DIRECTIVE
European legislation on ambient air quality and cleaner air for Europe (Directive 2008/50/EC) sets air quality limit values that cannot be exceeded anywhere in the EU and oblige Member States to limit the exposure of citizens to air pollutants. In many Member States, these air quality standards are being exceeded in urban areas. Many cities now face legal and political pressure to reduce ambient air concentrations in the short term. As a response, low emission zones restricting access to the oldest diesel and gasoline vehicles are being included in city air quality management plans.
In Autumn 2022, the European Commission proposed a revision of the EU Ambient Air Quality Directives to align the air quality standards more closely with the recommendations of the World Health Organization.
FUELSEUROPE SUPPORTS COST-EFFECTIVE AND FEASIBLE MEASURES TO IMPROVE AIR QUALITY
FuelsEurope supports the principle of seeking cost-effective solutions to improve air quality in the EU. In order for domestic industry to be able to grow competitively, we believe that goals for environmental performance should take into account how far Member States can achieve them cost-effectively. At the municipal level FuelsEurope also supports the flexibility that cities have in implementing well-targeted and cost-effective measures.
However, we strongly believe that legislation must be designed on the basis of a comprehensive risk management approach, as recommended by the World Health Organisation, through focusing on sound science, including cost-benefit and sensitivity analysis and a fair burden sharing between all sectors. Environmental performance goals should be drawn up in such a way that they will allow Member States’ domestic industries to compete effectively and continue their contributions to the recent great improvements in European air quality. The legislation should also be compatible with future energy scenarios, in order to not disrupt the ongoing energy transition.
Finally, the Commission’s proposal to revise the AAQD sets timelines for compliance which will remain a challenge for a majority of Member States, therefore we recommend that the increase in action, ambition and alignment is gradual, and allows for sufficient time for Member States to encompass the measures needed to meet the intermediate limit and target values proposed.
FuelsEurope is very closely following all the Regulations related to CO2 emissions for road vehicles, including the Light and Heavy-Duty-Vehicles Regulations and ultimately the Euro7 Regulation.
We strongly believe in the potential for the Euro7 to make available the registration of vehicles running on CO2 neutral fuels even after 2035, year foreseen for the internal combustion engines ban. This is coherent with the outcome of the CO2 Emissions for LDVs Regulation negotiations and with the current status of the European Parliament latest developments (voted opinions of the ITRE, TRAN and IMCO committees as well as an important number of ENVI amendments).
We invite the European Commission and Member States to welcome the European Parliament call for a coherent legal framework and strongly recommend the EU legislators to qualify advanced biofuels and synthetic fuels as “CO2 neutral fuels” and value them in the decarbonisation of the heavy road sector. This would allow CO2 neutral fuels to progressively decarbonise the entire car fleet, existing and new vehicles, on the road. If regulated by a clear and predictable legislative framework, CO2 neutral fuels will, for the foreseeable future, provide a competitive solution compared to alternative technologies, and reduce pressure and cost of achieving complete fleet turnover to ensure climate neutrality, also preserving potential disruptions in the EU Internal Market.
Similarly, when it comes to the level of ambition, the Commission and Member States might welcome the current view of the European Parliament: according to MEPs, the proposed timeframe for implementation (2025 for light vehicles and 2027 for heavy vehicles) seems difficult to realise, given that the test methods still need to be defined and having in mind the time required to complete the legislative co-decision process.