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.
The recently adopted implementing rules for the Fuel Quality Directive (FQD) include the possibility for fuel suppliers to use upstream emissions reductions (UERs) to reach the 6% decarbonisation target. This briefing contains T&E's recommendations for European Commission guidelines on UERs under the FQD. It outlines how the rules are vague and, without robust guidance by the European Commission and restrictions by member states, there is a risk of double counted and non-additional offset credits being used for compliance, seriously undermining the FQD’s effectiveness.
In July 2015 the European Commission opened a public consulation on an EU strategy for liquefied natural gas and gas storage. In its response T&E state that natural gas cannot deliver the decarbonisation that the sector needs to achieve the EU climate goals up to 2050. Investing in this technology would divert necessary resources from truly low-carbon alternatives in the transport sector and would create lock-in effects. Public resources for energy transition in transport should go where it offers the greatest public benefits, improved efficiency, and sustainable electrification.
Transport is the greatest consumer of energy in the developed world, consuming more than industry, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has found for the second consecutive year. In the EU, transport still lags behind industry in total final energy consumption, but the gap is narrowing, and road transport’s continued reliance on oil is making the sector increasingly slow to embrace lower-emission energy.
New figures show the amount of biofuels being used for transport in the EU rose by 6.1% in 2014, but the increase is less than the fall in transport biofuels registered in 2013. The rise suggests trends are going in the wrong direction as biodiesel takes up the most important part of the increase, though the figures should be treated with caution because there is limited information on the type of feedstocks used to produce these biofuels.
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.
It is impossible to have missed the news on cheap oil and gas, and what it is doing to our economies. A Google search for ‘oil price drop’ shows you what Reuters, BBC, Bloomberg, Forbes, etc – the big boys – have to say on the subject. And shale plays a key role in both. And indeed, oil costs less than it did in 2008 and 2012. And indeed, this is having a big economic impact. It means that Europe in 2014 saved around 1% of GDP, more than €100 billion, in import bills. A free and welcome boost. But this column is not seeking to add to what Reuters has to say. It wants to offer two other perspectives.
Bioenergy accounted for more than half of all renewable energy demand in Europe in 2014, according to projections just released by the European Commission. Burning biomass and biofuels account for 47% and 9%, respectively, of renewable energy, versus 11% from wind, 17% from hydro and 7% from solar.
This study, commissioned by T&E from the IEEP, ICCT and TEPR, asks how can a post-2020 low-carbon transport fuel policy be designed that is effective and addresses the political pitfalls of Europe's pre-2020 policies.
A report in the Netherlands has highlighted the need for greater transparency on the origin and carbon footprint of biofuels if they are to play a role in a more sustainable transport fuels market.