European automobile trade association gives thumbs up to EC’s low-emission mobility report

The European Automobile Manufacturers' Association (ACEA) has welcomed the European Commissions’ report on low-emission mobility.

The report, which was published yesterday (20th July), explores policy options to decarbonise transport beyond 2020. 

ACEA Secretary General, Erik Jonnaert said: "The automobile industry is fully committed to continue reducing CO2 emissions across all business segments, from passenger cars to trucks.”

However, the ACEA said that the EC’s strategy puts all the emphasis on road transport and called for a more balanced approach, addressing all modes of transport – including air, maritime and rail.

Jonnaert said: “All vehicle manufacturers will continue investing in both internal combustion engines as well as the full range of alternative powertrains that meet the demands of both private and business customers.”

The 13-page report mentions the word ‘biofuels’ eight times.  As part of its revision to the current legislation related to fuels and renewable energy, the EC is examining how to provide a strong incentive to innovate in energies needed for long-term decarbonisation.

The EC said that this could be done by ensuring that fuel suppliers provide a certain share of advanced biofuels through a blending mandate, for example.

Phase out

The Commission has already indicated that food-based biofuels have a limited role in decarbonising the transport sector and should not receive public support after 2020.

In the context of the ongoing analytical work to support the revision of the current legislation on fuels and renewable energy, the Commission is focusing on their gradual phase out and replacement by more advanced biofuels. The impacts will be assessed carefully including the investment needs for advanced biofuels and the fact that without support, at this stage, they will not be able to compete with fossil fuels or food-based biofuels.

In the medium-term, advanced biofuels will be particularly important for aviation, as well as for lorries and coaches, the report stated.

Although European renewable ethanol association ePURE welcomed the report, it called on the EC to examine the implications of its proposed policy orientations through a proper and fully objective impact assessment, based on the latest available science and its correct reading.

Under the EC’s better regulation agenda, such an impact assessment should objectively consider all low carbon fuel options available to decarbonise transport, not first define a policy objective and then develop an impact assessment around it, as was the case in 2012 with the proposed revision of the Renewable Energy Directive.

“A science-led approach to the impact assessment will show that renewable ethanol is an essential part of Europe’s low carbon mobility toolkit - its phasing out would work against the EU’s overall climate ambitions,” said Robert Wright, secretary-general of the European renewable ethanol association (ePURE).