More than half of the palm oil imported into the EU is used to make biodiesel for cars and trucks. Palm oil used for biodiesel has increased sharply over the last years while food consumption of palm oil is declining.
The biggest failure of the current car CO2 has been the failure to deliver emissions reductions on the road. Whilst new car CO2 emissions measured using the obsolete laboratory test (NEDC) have fallen by 31% since 2000, on the road the reduction is just, 11%. The gap between test and real-world performance has leapt from 9 to 42% weakening the regulation, increasing CO2 emissions and raising fuel bills for drivers. The underlying issue was basing the regulation on laboratory tests. Whilst the new WLTP addresses some loopholes, its introduction also creates new flexibilities that the car industry are planning to exploit to undermine both the current regulation to 2020/1 and proposed future regulations for 2025/30.
In response to congestion and high local pollution cities are increasingly using vehicle access restrictions to limit the number of cars on their roads and ensure those which grossly pollute are not allowed in. Following the dieselgate emissions scandal (that exposed the failure of modern diesel vehicles to adequately control toxic fumes when operated on the road), there is a new focus on deploying Low Emission Zones and Diesel Bans. Today there are around 40 million grossly polluting diesel cars and vans on the EU’s roads but national vehicle approval authorities remain reluctant to mandate manufacturers to implement fixes.
Light commercial vehicles, or vans, are a neglected area of EU road transport policy as they are often exempt from safety and environmental policy such as driving regulations or tolls, compared to their direct competitors, trucks. This enhances their attractiveness and in part explains why their use and emissions are growing. CO2 standards for van makers are much weaker than for cars, as a result van makers do not deploy the same efficient and innovative technologies to vans to lower their emissions.
This study shows that, in the period 2008 to 2011, a time before CO2 standards for trucks came into effect in the US, truck prices increased but fuel efficiency remained broadly static. Coming into force in 2011, standards ensured the deployment of fuel saving technologies and brought about a 24% fuel efficiency gain from 2011 to 2017.
This is T&E's report on why Europe’s obsession with diesel cars is bad for its economy, its drivers and the environment.
Policies to promote food based biofuels do lead to increases in food prices, an extensive independent literature review has concluded. The analysis considered over one hundred economic modelling studies of the potential impact on prices of increased biofuel demand and over two dozen assessments of the role biofuels demand played in the 2006-08 food price crisis.
This new study by Christian Berggren and Per Kågeson for T&E provides a comprehensive study of benefits and challenges for Europe to electrify its vehicle fleet.
The EU is negotiating trade deals with Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay), Indonesia, and soon Malaysia, These trade deals represent a risk for the EU’s sustainable transport plans. All mentioned countries are producers and exporters of crop-based biofuels, especially from palm and soybean oil that have higher overall emissions than fossil diesel. All ongoing negotiations include chapters on energy and raw materials.
Today heavy duty vehicles account for around 30% of EU road transport CO2, but as cars decarbonise, this is expected to reach about 40%. The Commission proposal on monitoring and reporting (MR) of truck CO2 emissions and fuel consumption seeks to collect certain truck data and make it available (with restrictions) to the Commission and stakeholders. The MR regulation will support the implementation of truck CO2 standards – a Commission proposal is due in early 2018.