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Low-carbon fuels crucial to achieving EU clean mobility goals, new study shows


11 Jun 2018


Climate & Environment
High percentage of cars with internal combustion engines will still be on Europe’s roads for decades, according to new research; low-carbon fuels such as renewable EU ethanol needed to reduce GHG emissions
BRUSSELS, 11 June 2018 – Europe’s push to decarbonise road transport would benefit significantly from the use of low-carbon fuels such as renewable ethanol, according to a new report on the makeup and emissions of the EU auto fleet for the coming decades. 
While the EU’s current Clean Mobility Package places a high emphasis on electric vehicles as a solution for reducing road transport emissions, the new findings confirm low-carbon fuels are essential to achieve decarbonisation objectives in the medium- to long-term.
The new study, “Europe’s Clean Mobility Outlook: Scenarios for the EU light-duty vehicle fleet, associated energy needs and emissions, 2020-2050”, was carried out by independent consultancy firm Ricardo Energy & Environment.
It found that use of low-carbon fuels like renewable EU ethanol could provide additional GHG reductions that would otherwise not be achieved and could also mitigate for potential uncertainty in longer-term GHG intensity of electricity.
The report examined three possible scenarios for the uptake of electric vehicles (EVs) in Europe. Even under the most ambitious scenario, EVs would make up 15.7% of the EU passenger car fleet and 40% of new passenger car sales in 2030.
“This study clearly shows that betting only on one solution is not enough to decarbonise transport: we need a variety of tools to decarbonise the majority of existing and future fleet still running on liquid fuels,” said Emmanuel Desplechin, Secretary General of ePURE, the European renewable ethanol association. “Electric vehicles will bring great benefits to transport, but they cannot do the whole job. Europe needs a mix that includes sustainably produced low-carbon fuels such as ethanol.”
Importantly, the study also looked at the related direct and Well-To-Wheels GHG emissions of these different scenarios depending on the amount of low-carbon fuels in the energy mix.
The report states: “The additional [carbon] savings generated by the increased use of low-carbon fuels, mean that even with low electrification rates, reductions achieved under a low-carbon fuels scenario are greater than a scenario with high electrification but no increased use of low-carbon fuels. This is true even if electricity decarbonises more rapidly than in the reference scenario.”
To download the full report, click here