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Reference regulatory framework

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The Renewable Energy Directive (2009/28/EC of 23 April 2009), so called RED Directive, poses two key requirements for the uptake of renewable energy and – more specifically – biofuels in the transport sector.

  • EU Member States are required to meet 10% renewable energy share in the transport sector by 2020.

All transport modes are included in this target and different renewable energy sources are factored in differently, namely the contribution of advanced biofuels towards achieving the 10% target are accounted twice whereas electricity from renewable sources for road transport counts 2.5 times.

Each Member State is requested to establish a national renewable energy action plan including information on sectoral targets. In addition, Member States should set out measures to achieve those targets, assessing the contribution of both energy efficiency and energy saving measures.

  • Biofuels sustainability is required for feedstock and biofuels production as well as minimum greenhouse gas (GHG) savings per energy unit.


The Fuel Quality Directive (2009/30/EC of 23 April 2009), so called FQD Directive, sets environmental requirements for petrol and diesel fuel in order to reduce their air pollutant emissions.

These requirements consist of technical specifications for fuel content and binding targets to reduce fuels’ life cycle greenhouse gas emissions. The Directive places the responsibility of reducing GHG emissions on fuel suppliers.

  • Fuel suppliers will have to gradually reduce fuel greenhouse gas emissions of 6% by 2020. Member States may choose to expand this reduction up to 10%. They may also choose to set the intermediate targets of 2% by 2014 and 4 % by 2017.

  • Suppliers will also have to reach an additional indicative reduction target of 2% by 2020 by either supplying electric vehicles or using GHG reducing technologies (including carbon capture and storage technology). Another indicative target of 2% by 2020 is to be achieved by the purchase of credits through the Clean Development Mechanism under the Kyoto Protocol. The last two targets are subject to review.

  • From 2011 fuel suppliers will be bound to report annually to Member States on the life cycle greenhouse gas emissions per unit of fuel supplied.

Regulation on CO2 from light duty vehicles is currently under Regulation 443/2009 setting emission performance standards for new passenger cars as part of the Community’s integrated approach to reduce CO2 emissions from light-duty vehicles (vehicles of category M1).

  • Car manufacturers have to gradually reduce CO2 Emissions in the new fleet of passenger cars reaching new fleet averages of 130g/km in 2015 and 95g/km in 2020.

  • The Regulation places the burden of complying with the target on car manufacturers and recognises the role of alternative motor fuels (namely, E85) and innovative technologies, by accounting for additional CO2 % reductions on overall emissions.

  • Regarding E85 vehicles, the Regulation foresees that the CO2 emission reduction may be applied providing at least 30 % of filling stations provide E85 and that E85 meets sustainability criteria: there again yet another reason for car manufacturers and fuel producers and distributors to work sharing a common knowledge basis

Regulation on CO2 from light commercial vehicles (vans)has been proposed by the European Commission in October 2009.

  • The targeted EU fleet average for all new light commercial vehicles (vans) of 175 g/km is expected to be applied as of 2014.

  • Similar to the discipline for passenger cars, the requirement will be phased-in as of 2014 when 75% of each manufacturer's newly registered vans must comply on average with the limit value curve set by the legislation then rising to 80% in 2015, and 100% from 2016 onwards.

Further information and updates are available from DG ENV page.


Emission standard for passenger cars and Heavy Duty vehicles

Regulation 715/2007 introduces new common requirements for emissions from motor vehicles and their specific replacement parts (Euro 5 and Euro 6 standards) for passenger cars, vans and light duty commercial vehicles (categories M1, M2, N1 and N2).

The Regulation covers a wide range of pollutant emissions: carbon monoxide (CO), non-methane hydrocarbons and total hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulates (PM). It covers tailpipe emissions, evaporative emissions and crankcase emissions.

  • There are emission limits for each category of pollutant emissions and for the different regulated vehicles types.

Euro 5 standard will come into force on 1 September 2009 for type approval, and from 1 January 2011 for the registration and sale of new types of cars;

Euro 6 standard will come into force on 1 September 2014 for type approval, and from 1 January 2015 for the registration and sale of new types of cars;

Euro VI standards for Heavy Duty Vehicles (categories N2, N3, M2 and M3) were introduced by Regulation 595/2009 with new emission limits coming into force on 1 January 2013 (new type approvals) and 2014 (all registrations).  Technical details will be specified in the implementing regulation to be developed by the Commission in 2010.


Standards - Current European CEN Fuel Specifications

  • For pure bio-components:
    • Ethanol: EN15376 (for blending up to 5% in gasoline)
    • Fatty Acid Methyl Esters (FAME): EN14214

  • For gasoline: 5% v/v (E5) ethanol and 2.7% oxygen (EN228)

  • For diesel: 7% v/v (B7) FAME in diesel fuel (EN590)

  • Generally speaking, there are no limits on addition of 2nd generation renewable diesel
    • Hydrogenated vegetable oils (HVO) and animal fats
    • Biomass-to-Liquids (BTL)

Relevant initiatives of the Member States

  • France: E10 (2009); B7 (2008) and B30 for captive fleets

  • Germany: B7 plus 3% renewable diesel (2008), B100 for specially adapted vehicles

  • B20 (Poland) and B30 (Czech Republic) for captive fleets

  • E85 in Austria, France, Germany, and Sweden

Standardisation of high quality fuels containing bio-components is essential to ensure trouble-free performance in the current/future fleet and to ensure a truly single, non-fragmented internal market