In April 2009, Directive 2009/30/EC was adopted which revises the Fuel Quality Directive [Directive 98/70/EC]. It amends a number of elements of the petrol and diesel specifications as well as introducing in Article 7a a requirement on fuel suppliers to reduce the greenhouse gas intensity of energy supplied for road transport (Low Carbon Fuel Standard). In addition the Directive establishes sustainability criteria that must be met by biofuels if they are to count towards the greenhouse gas intensity reduction obligation.
A number of aspects of the Directive require further work. As a result the Commission has recently published a consultation on the implementation of various issues relating to Article 7a and has also carried out a pre-consultation in relation to policy options for addressing indirect land use change from biofuels.
Indirect land use change, biofuels and bioliquids - Restricted stakeholder consultation
The Fuel Quality Directive [98/70/EC] as amended by Directive 2009/30/EC and the Directive on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources [2009/28/EC] require the Commission:
Article 7d(6) of Directive 98/70 as amended states:
"The Commission shall, by 31 December 2010, submit a report to the European Parliament and to the Council reviewing the impact of indirect land use change on greenhouse gas emissions and addressing ways to minimise that impact. The report shall, if appropriate, be accompanied by a proposal, based on the best available scientific evidence, containing a concrete methodology for emissions from carbon stock changes caused by indirect land use changes, ensuring compliance with this Directive, in particular Article 7b(2)."
The restrictricted consultation forms part of the Commission's work to prepare this report. The objective was to seek views on possible elements of the policy approach.
Consultation period: 14/06/2009 - 31/07/2009
ILUC Consultation Document [27 KB]
Contributions by country [3 MB]
In preparing its report, the Commission has launched a number of pieces of work in order to better understand the phenomenon of indirect land use change associated with biofuels and bioliquids. In the interest of transparency, the terms of reference or equivalent documents for each exercise are made available.
Vapour Pressure of Petrol
The amended Directive will facilitate the blending of ethanol in petrol through an increase in the maximum ethanol content to 10% and foresees the possibility for Member States to request a derogation from the maximum permitted petrol vapour pressure.
On 31 January 2007 the European Commission proposed new standards for transport fuels that will reduce their contribution to climate change and air pollution, including through greater use of biofuels. The proposed changes to Directive 98/70 underscore the Commission's commitment to ensure that the EU combats climate change and air pollution effectively.
The new standards will not only make petrol, diesel and gasoil 'cleaner' but will also allow the introduction of vehicles and machinery that pollute less. A key measure is that, to encourage the development of lower-carbon fuels and biofuels, suppliers will have to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions caused by the production, transport and use of their fuels by 10% between 2011 and 2020. This will cut emissions by a cumulative total of 500 million tonnes of carbon dioxide by 2020.
A new petrol blend will be established allowing higher content of the biofuel ethanol, and sulphur levels in diesel and gasoil will be cut to reduce emissions of dangerous dust particles.
Directive 98/70 as amended by Directive 2003/17/EC contains the environmental fuel quality specifications for petrol and diesel fuels in the Community with the main focus on sulphur and for petrol on lead and aromatics. Since 1 January 2005 the limit on the sulphur content of petrol and diesel is 50 ppm and Member States are required to start phasing in ultra-low sulphur fuel with a maximum 10 ppm sulphur content. Since 1 January 2002 all petrol sold in the EU is unleaded.
Directive 2003/17/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 3 March 2003 amending Directive 98/70/EC relating to the quality of petrol and diesel fuels (Text with EEA relevance)
Commission Recommendation 2005/27/EC on what, for the purposes of Directive 98/70/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning petrol and diesel fuels, constitutes availability of unleaded petrol and diesel fuel with a maximum sulphur content on an appropriately balanced geographical basis.