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.
CO2 standards for new vehicles have been proven to work and new targets should be introduced for 2025 and 2030, a report for the European Parliament’s transport committee has said. The limited quantities of available biofuels are also highlighted, while the shift to electric vehicles is ‘inevitable’.
Leaked plans by car and truckmakers to cut carbon emissions of their vehicles in Europe – by resurfacing all roads in the EU at a cost of more than €520 billion – have been criticised as an abdication of the sector’s climate responsibility. Industry body ACEA’s ‘Joining forces’ initiative calls for greater efficiencies through major investments such as in lower rolling resistance tarmac, but fails to identify new CO2 standards for vehicles.
New research has suggested that investing in public and low-emission transport could bring massive financial savings in addition to making a sizeable contribution to reducing greenhouse gases.
A win-win situation in which motorists could save up to 23% of the cost of owning an electric car and the carbon impact of e-vehicles could be reduced is possible through smart charging.
Further decarbonisation of transport through a shift to alternative fuels and electro-mobility forms a major part of the European Commission’s strategy for an ‘energy union’, unveiled last week. With transport being responsible for more than 30% of EU energy consumption and a quarter of emissions, the Commission said legislation on ‘decarbonising the transport sector, including an action plan on alternative fuels’ would be put forward in 2017.
This paper sets out why a cross-vehicle, cross-modal strategy to accelerate the electrification of transport – a shift towards sustainable e-mobility – should be an essential part of Europe’s ambition to achieve an energy union. It would also bring the benefits of reduced oil imports and transport CO2 emissions as well as stimulate innovation and jobs.