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. Indeed, a virtual phase out of the use of fossil fuels will be needed by 2050. For vehicles using alternative low and zero emission fuels to be able to operate, there needs to be sufficient infrastructure to enable these vehicles to recharge or refuel. TEPR is currently working, as part of a consortium, to support the development of EU legislation that aims to ensure that there is sufficient refuelling/recharging infrastructure for alternative fuels. 

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. 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 low and zero emission vehicles will be slower than it needs to be to effectively phase out fossil fuel use 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 has encouraged the development of electric cars, while similar legislation for vans has been in place since 2011. Various pieces of EU legislation, including the renewable energy Directive and the fuel quality Directive, have also been encouraging the use of sustainable biofuels, and to a lesser extent the use of electricity and hydrogen, in the transport sector. In 2014, the EU adopted the alternative fuels infrastructure Directive, which filled a legislative gap 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 available in the EU. It requires each EU Member State to develop a national policy framework for the deployment of alternative fuel infrastructure, and that these meet 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/recharged.

Supporting the development of the alternative fuels infrastructure Directive 

The evaluation of the Directive, i.e. a backward-looking study that is seeking to identify the impact of the Directive, is ongoing and is being undertaken by a consortium involving TEPR. The same consortium is also supporting the European Commission in identifying and assessing the impacts of potential options to amend the Directive.

Further information

For more information on the project, or TEPR’s work more generally, please contact Ian Skinner at TEPR (ian.skinner@tepr.co.uk) or call +44 (0) 1892 663289. Once it is published, the report will be available from ‘Low carbon transport fuels’ page of TEPR’s website. TEPR’s work on the regulation of CO2 emissions from cars can be found on the respective TEPR project page.


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

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