Increasing the use of natural gas in cars and trucks would be largely ineffective in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and air pollution, a new independent study finds. There are no GHG savings in shifting from diesel cars and trucks to compressed or liquefied natural gas (LNG) cars and trucks, while petrol-hybrid, electric and hydrogen cars deliver much greater climate benefits, the study for sustainable transport group Transport & Environment says.
In February 2016, the European Commission released a proposal to guarantee its gas supply security and is preparing another one to implement the EU’s 2030 climate targets for the transport, buildings and agriculture sectors. It is also developing a communication to decarbonise the road transport sector, to be announced this summer. To understand what role natural gas could have in achieving these objectives, T&E commissioned a study from Ricardo Energy & Environment to assess the impacts of large-scale use of natural gas in the transport sector.
Europe’s diesel cars received indirect subsidies totalling almost €27 billion last year through lower fuel taxes, a new study has found. Diesel fuel was taxed at, on average, 14 cent less per litre than petrol in 2014, according to Europe’s tax deals for diesel, which was published by T&E last month.
Europeans pay 14 cent more on average in tax for a litre of petrol than for diesel – indirectly subsidising diesel cars to the order of €2,600 per vehicle, a new study by sustainable transport group Transport & Environment (T&E) finds. This 30% tax gap in favour of diesel is a key reason for diesel cars’ majority share of new sales in Europe and leads to air quality problems where nine out of 10 diesel cars fail to meet NOx limits when driven on the road. 
The gap between petrol and diesel taxes in Europe is quite unique in the world and is the main reason why diesel engines have taken off in Europe and not worldwide. This study analyses fuel price and tax trends since 1980 and adds a specific analysis of diesel tax paid by trucks. It finds that in 2014 the gap in tax levels for diesel and petrol paid by motorists was €0.14/l, which is 30% lower than petrol per unit of energy or tonne of CO2.
Opinion by Jos Dings - T&E director
People who follow our work – and Europe’s environmental policy – a little bit will have noticed that two fuels-related draft laws keep dragging on without any apparent progress. The first one is what to do about indirect land use change effects of biofuels (key words: Iluc, biodiesel). The second is whether or not to give petrol and diesel from unconventional fossil sources a higher lifecycle greenhouse gas default value (key words: fuel quality directive, tar sands).
Shipping has become the first industry to agree a global carbon dioxide reduction strategy. This month’s vote at the International Maritime Organisation approved the establishment of an Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) for new ships. T&E welcomed the decision, but says it cannot be seen as a solution on its own, especially because the EEDI will take many years to be truly effective.
The European Commission last week proposed stricter controls on dangerous sulphur in ship fuel  Environmental NGOs welcomed what they described as a long overdue proposal, which will bring the EU in line with the standards agreed by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) 3 years ago.
The European Union established a 20% target for renewable energy use by 2020 and a 10% target for renewables in the transport sector by 2020. Bioenergy, including solid biomass and waste, is expected to represent 60% of the EU’s renewable energy use and biofuels is expected to cover most of the 10% renewable energy use in transport.