FuelsEurope – Comments on recognition of renewable fuels in vehicle CO2 regulation

T&E published its opinion “Why rewarding renewable fuels under the truck CO2 regulation would be a bad idea” in Euractiv on 7 November 2018. FuelsEurope believes that the arguments outlined in the opinion require some clarification or corrections.

Sustainable biofuels, including advanced biofuels, are widely recognised as one of the most effective solutions to the objective of reducing the CO2 emissions in transport, and particularly in those sectors (heavy duty road, aviation, shipping) where liquid fuels – thanks to for their superior energy density - are more difficult to be replaced. It is therefore in the interest of the EU to create a level-playing field in the regulatory conditions to unlock investments in technologies for sustainable renewable fuels. This concept is more deeply described in FuelsEurope’s “Vision 2050” - https://www.fuelseurope.eu/vision-2050/.

During the debate on CO2 for cars regulation, it became very clear that a large fraction of the MEPs recognised that the current tailpipe based regulation is not able to address all aspects of the climate impact of powertrains, fuels and energy adequately.

Amendments calling for early action to correct this were voted down with a very tiny majority. The early action the industry is calling for, aims to recognise the contribution that fuels can make through a reduction of their fossil CO2 footprint via the truck CO2 regulation, while still respecting the desire to regulate the truck CO2 emissions based on a tailpipe approach.

In order to achieve this, time and proper reflection and consultation with stakeholders is required. The Commission should conduct and finalise this process, which will include also the measures to avoid double-counting of CO2 benefits of sustainable biofuels under multiple regulations before the regulation enters into force.

Is it possible to guarantee that there is a match between the amount of renewable fuels used in transport and their fossil CO2 reduction credited in the CO2 for trucks regulation? Yes of course. This can be achieved via guarantees of origin. A system which is equivalent to what is being used for the renewable electricity. What counts is that the amount of renewable electricity – or renewable fuels in our case - entering the system, is equal to the amount accounted for. This certification system already exists for sustainable biofuels for compliance with the RED, and could be used instead for this link to Truck CO2 regulation.

Additionally, the early recognition of the contribution of the reduction of the fossil CO2 footprint of fuels is extremely important for the development of decarbonised fuels, strongly needed to achieve the 2050 Paris agreement goals. And vehicle manufacturers will have a strong incentive to keep investing in the further improvement of CO2 efficiency of internal combustion engines, a field where the EU is the world leader.

Experts now agree that we need lower carbon liquid fuels as well as electrification for transport solutions. We ask MEPs to support this proposal to enable more investments in low-carbon liquid fuel technologies in Europe.