European Union

Fuel Quality (Directives 2009/30/EC and 2015/1513 amending Directive 98/70/EC as regards the specification of petrol, diesel and gas-oil and introducing a mechanism to monitor and reduce GHG emissions and amending Council Directive 1999/32/EC as regards the specification of fuel used by inland waterway vessels and repealing Directive 93/12/EEC)

Action plan
Mitigation Framework
Passed in 2009
The directives provide the legislative basis for reducing the GHG intensity of fuels used in vehicles for transportation by 10% by 2020. They apply to all fuels used in road transportation, including petrol, diesel and biofuels, and to gasoil that is used in non-road mobile machinery. The 10% target comprises 6% reduction of GHG intensity of fuels by 2020, 2% reduction of GHG intensity depending on the development of new technologies and 2% reduction from purchasing Clean Development Mechanism credits. The Directive requires calculation of fuel GHG intensity on a life-cycle basis, calculated from a 2010 baseline. To limit the undesired impacts of biofuel production, it establishes criteria to enable biofuels to be counted towards GHG emission reduction targets. Biofuel GHG emissions must be >35% lower than the fossil fuel they are replacing, increasing to >50% by 2017 and >60% from 2018. Raw materials for biofuels may not be taken from land with high carbon stocks (e.g. peat lands) or high biodiversity. However, the implementing measures of the Fuel Quality Directive have not been adopted and it has thus only limited impact. The Commission Implementing Decision 2017/1462 of 10 August 2017 deals with the ‘REDcert' voluntary scheme for demonstrating compliance with the sustainability criteria under Directives 98/70/EC and 2009/28/EC. Council Directive 2015/652 of 20 April 2015 lays down calculation methods and reporting requirements pursuant to Directive 98/70/EC.

  • Reducing the GHG intensity of fuels used in vehicles for transportation by 10% by 2020 against a 2009 baseline
    Transportation | Intensity target | Target year: 2020 | Base year: 2009
  • Biofuel GHG emissions must be >35% lower than the fossil fuel they are replacing by 2017, 2018 against a 2015 baseline
    Transportation | Fixed level target | Target year: 2018 | Base year: 2015
Related litigation cases
  • Afton Chemical Limited v. Secretary of State for Transport (European Court of Justice, 2010)

    Opened in 2010 Case opened

    Afton Chemical, a British MMT producer, challenged the EU limits and labeling requirements for the use of the metallic fuel additive MMT. The European Court of Justice ruled that the limit on MMT, adopted in the revised fuel quality Directive 98/70/EC, does not violate the precautionary principle and the principles on equal treatment and proportionality. The court concluded that the EC places significant weight on the protection of human health and the environment. Reducing the health and environmental risks associated with MMT use outweighs the economic interests of Afton Chemical.

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