A measured proposal but a missed opportunity to encourage all technologies to deliver solutions towards a low emissions transport system

The 30% CO2 reduction target for cars and vans by 2030 proposed in the Commission Mobility Package is ambitious and should enable as such to meet EU’s transport emission reduction objective for 2030. The proposal also contains a non-binding sales target for zero and low emissions vehicles but regrettably the devil is in the detail. Indeed, despite the general understanding that zero emission vehicles do not exist, the Commission ultimately took the political decision to pave the way towards electrification of light duty vehicles (LDVs), and ignoring the life cycle performance of cars, batteries, the energy or fuels, hence taking the risk to close doors to other technologies and technological developments.

The Commission unveiled its Mobility Package including a proposal for revision of the efficiency standards for passenger cars. The proposal suggests for 2030 a 30% reduction of the CO2 standard, a 30% sales target of zero or low emissions vehicles reinforced by a credit scheme for carmakers exceeding the sales target.

John Cooper, Director General of FuelsEurope, commented “The Commission should be commended for the measured proposal but it is disappointing to see that the Commission did in reality move away from the principle of technology neutrality to push for EVs.”

John Cooper stressed that “there is little doubt about the Commission’s long term trajectory since the Mobility Package Executive Summary explicitly asserts that the proposed framework aims to support a gradual transition from vehicles powered by conventional engines to electric vehicles.”

FuelsEurope believes that many other technologies including the internal combustion engine can deliver the required efficiency gains and it is worth remembering that an advanced efficient ICE based vehicle combined with a liquid fuel containing advanced lower-carbon components can be competitive in every way with fully electrified battery vehicles, because the combination of the individual improvements in fuels and vehicles have a multiplied effect in real life.

John Cooper finally underlined that “to enable this we need to include in the Vehicle CO2 regulations a facility to recognise the improving GHG intensity of liquid fuels as a contribution to the CO2 performance of vehicles e.g. in the use of sustainable biofuels.”

Furthermore, the Commission should recognise the deficiencies of the current approach by at least informing consumers on the real GHG emissions of cars, batteries, the electricity and fuels and to consider how to transition in the medium term to a life-cycle based vehicle GHG policy.

Energy companies, including members of FuelsEurope, have been conducting R&D and investments in a number of technologies for many years. There is a wide portfolio of innovative solutions, some well-proven whilst others are developing fast. With the right framework in place, the Refining industry, in close cooperation with car industry, can deliver substantial GHG reductions.

John Cooper concluded “last but not least, as this proposal is examined by Parliament and Council, careful consideration should be given on the one hand to the financial impact on Member States and on the other to the significance of consumers’ acceptance to meet these targets for electric vehicles.”