In order to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced by the transport sector, it is necessary to significantly reduce the amount of fossil fuels that the transport sector uses. In fact, a virtual phase out of the use of fossil fuels will be needed by 2050. As a result, policy has been put in place to ensure that the CO2 emissions from cars, lorries and buses decline, while at the same time ensuring the development of zero emission vehicles. For the latter to be able to operate, there needs to be sufficient zero emission energy sources and fuels available, while the necessary infrastructure is needed to enable these vehicles to recharge or refuel. TEPR is currently working, as part of a consortium, to evaluate a piece of EU legislation that aims to ensure that sufficient refuelling and recharging infrastructure for alternative fuels is put in place

The need for infrastructure for alternative transport fuels

Vehicles that use alternative fuels, particularly electricity (and also hydrogen), are coming onto the market for various modes of transport. In order to enable these vehicles to recharge (or refuel), there needs to be sufficient recharging and refuelling infrastructure distributed appropriately throughout the EU. Furthermore, there are other potential alternative fuels, such as sustainable biofuels and potentially synthetic fuels, that might also need to be catered for. Without sufficient recharging and refuelling infrastructure, the uptake of zero emission vehicles will be slower than it needs to be to effectively phase out the use of fossil fuel by 2050.

EU policies for clean vehicles and fuels

Since 2009, the EU has had a Regulation in place to reduce the CO2 emissions from new passenger cars, which also has encouraged the development of electric cars; similar legislation for vans has been in place since 2011. Since 2009, various pieces of EU legislation have been encouraging the use of low carbon transport fuels, including sustainable biofuels and to a lesser extent electricity and hydrogen, in the transport sector. In 2014, the EU adopted the alternative fuels infrastructure Directive1, which arguably filled the gap between these other pieces of legislation by aiming to ensure that there was sufficient recharging and refuelling infrastructure in place to power vehicles that use alternative fuels.

The alternative fuels infrastructure Directive

The Directive aims to put in place a ‘common framework of measures’ to ensure that sufficient alternative fuels infrastructure is put in place in the EU. It requires each EU Member State to develop a national policy framework for the deployment of alternative fuel infrastructure, and that the infrastructure meets basic minimum requirements relating to each fuel that the Directive covers. The Directive also requires that clear and consistent information is provided to consumers about which vehicles are able to use which fuels, and that this information is made available where vehicles are bought and refuelled or recharged.

Evaluating the alternative fuels infrastructure Directive

While the Directive was only adopted five years ago, the European Commission is required to report to the European Parliament and Member States on the application of the Directive every three years, starting in 2020. Hence, the Commission is currently evaluating the Directive, supported by an ongoing study being undertaken by a consortium that involves TEPR.

Further information

For more information on the project, or TEPR’s work more generally, please contact Ian Skinner at TEPR ( or call +44 (0)7521 063324. Once it is published, the report will be available from ‘Low carbon transport fuels’ page of TEPR’s website.


1 Directive 2014/94/EU on the deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure

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