Automobile manufacturers publish views on biofuel directives

Brussels, 14 November 2012 – Automobile Manufacturers have published their comments on the European Commission’s proposal to amend both the Renewable Energy Directive and the Fuel Quality Directive.

The European Automobile Manufacturer’s Association (ACEA) welcomes the new proposal of the Commission to amend the Renewable Energy Use Directive (RED) and the Fuel Quality Directive (FQD) that was published on 17 October 2012. ACEA is pleased that the Commission has responded to ACEA’s views regarding biofuels highlighted during the CARS21 process and in other forums. This Commission proposal is a first step that recognises the importance of Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC) and aims to stimulate the pathways to more advanced biofuels. ACEA has several key comments on the proposal, and the industry requests that these be considered in the legislation:

  • The importance of high quality fuels

In the automotive sector, it is particularly important that the fuels are of the highest quality, regardless of their production method. Robust European Committee for Standardization (CEN) standards are required to ensure the quality of both the pure biofuel and final fuel blends, as well as to ensure they meet performance and environmental needs.

  • The definition of a sustainability pathway

On the basis of this proposal, the co-legislators must now quickly define a clear pathway for stable EU policy. This should help make the rapid transition to cleaner, sustainable and high quality biofuels in order to significantly improve environmental and climate change impacts as well as societal acceptance in a truly integrated approach. Further, the Commission must note that without adequate regulatory and market support there may be insufficient non-food biofuels produced to meet the 2020 target, given the proposed cap on food-sourced biofuels.

  • The consistent application of ILUC

Legislation must be applied consistently and cover all ILUC factors so that carbon-accounting for all fuel sources is accurate and carried out uniformly and scientifically.

  • The harmonisation of national measures

The pathway for general market fuels needs to be fully harmonised between all member states. The European automobile industry urges all member states to follow the same approach and introduce E10 and B7 according to common CEN standards. These should deliver sustainable and year-round high quality biofuels. Member states and stakeholders can help ensure customer acceptance of new fuels with a coordinated and comprehensive communication strategy.

  • The focus of R&D

More intensive research support and demonstration projects for second/third generation non-food based biofuel pathways in FP7 and Horizon 2020 are needed to strengthen EU competitiveness in this sector and to encourage the market-uptake and production of these sustainable biofuels in the EU.

  • Sectoral targets

Renewable energy use targets should not be just for road transport to deliver. All transport modes (eg, railways, waterways etc) and other energy-consumption activities (non-road) must contribute to meeting the targets. In order to encourage a level-playing field between fuel and energy alternatives, renewable energy use targets must not solely apply to fuels used by the automotive industry.

About ACEA The European automotive industry is key to the strength and competitiveness of Europe. The ACEA members are BMW Group, DAF Trucks, Daimler, FIAT S.p.A., Ford of Europe, General Motors Europe, Hyundai Motor Europe, IVECO S.p.A., Jaguar Land Rover, Porsche, PSA Peugeot Citroën, Renault Group, Toyota Motor Europe, Volkswagen Group, Volvo Cars, Volvo Group. They provide direct employment to more than 2 million people and indirectly support another 10 million jobs. Annually, ACEA members invest over €26 billion in R&D, or 5% of turnover.