The European Commission is preparing a new package of measures to advance in the decarbonization of heavy transport, which it expects to present this November with the intention of raising the emission reduction targets, while advancing in the trilogues for CO2 standards for cars and vans.
In view of the progress of these measures, oil companies and the automotive sector, but also employers' associations such as Appa Biocarburantes, have joined forces to ask the Commission to open up options for emission-neutral combustion vehicles.
In a joint letter signed by Fuels Europe, AOP, the Union of Independent Oil Companies and Repsol, they warn of the changes that have taken place in the geopolitical panorama since the Commission's proposal on CO2 standards for cars and vans in July 2021.
Among the risks they consider that may occur, they cite rising prices of raw materials for batteries and supply constraints that they consider "will jeopardize the availability of affordable cars for many citizens and, therefore, delay the renewal of the fleet. These risks amplify the demand for fossil fuels and slow down the pace of greenhouse gas emission reductions."
Fuels Europe also insists that the response to the energy crisis, which is reshaping energy policy in Europe, the average greenhouse gas intensity of EU electricity may increase as coal use is expected to grow.
"There is no guarantee that we will have enough renewable electricity to meet the growing demand for electrified transport, with the risk that marginal electricity consumption may even come from coal. Current vehicle standards, based solely on tailpipe emissions, do nothing to prevent this, to the detriment of the overall reduction of greenhouse gas emissions," they say.
Employers call for a rethink of the assumptions on how to achieve climate neutrality.
The deployment of charging infrastructure across Europe is increasing, but a sufficiently dense network across the EU is not yet guaranteed. This creates uncertainty that prevents many drivers from switching to electromobility.
For the oil companies, the publication of the Commission's impact assessment in September 2020 only addressed some of these issues, although recent developments have made them critical.
For this reason, the employers demand a rethink of the assumptions held on how best to achieve climate neutrality in 2050, while ensuring a just transition of the EU industry. In this regard, they call for consideration of all solutions that can bring about a reduction in emissions, such as recognition by regulation and society that ICE, HEV and PHEV vehicles using exclusively renewable and sustainable synthetic fuels can have very low or even completely neutral emissions.
Banning the sale of combustion trucks and buses by 2035
Trucks and buses are only 2% of the total number of vehicles on the road but in 2020 they were responsible for 28% of CO2 emissions from road transport in Spain, according to Transport & Environment. Given that the EU is to present a proposal in November to strengthen climate targets for the heavy-duty vehicle sector, it is worth assessing a new study that shows that, if the aim is to remove all polluting vehicles from the roads by 2050, they will have to be sold by 2035.