Powering Europe’s transport with fossil gas – widely known as ‘natural’ gas – would emit as much greenhouse gases as using petrol, diesel or conventional marine fuels, a new T&E report has found. Fossil gas cars also emit as much air pollution as petrol ones and their limited advantage over new diesels that comply with the latest emissions standards could be eliminated by the planned introduction of new Euro VII/7 standards, the research shows. Yet, by taxing gas for transport at a rates much lower than petrol and diesel, European lawmakers are incentivising the use of this fossil fuel.
By Jelena Simjanovic, clean energy directorWHAT I LEARNED IN 2016: I joined T&E in late summer, soon after the European Commission published its Low-emission Mobility Strategy. Its goals looked promising: increasing efficiency of the transport system; speeding up the development of low-emission alternative energy for transport; and moving towards zero-emission vehicles. While I had a general idea about biofuels and sustainability issues around them, I entered the transport world after 10 years of working on a variety of energy sector issues and carbon markets. I feel privileged to have a job where I can learn as much as I have learned in the past five months, while at the same time utilising my extensive knowledge of the electricity and energy markets for the discussion on transport electrification and development.
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’.
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.