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, as part of a consortium, supported the European Commission in both the evaluation and 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 that is appropriately distributed where users need it. 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 (see TEPR’s CO2 emissions from cars page for our work on these). 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 (AFID), 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 AFID aimed to put in place a ‘common framework of measures’ to ensure that sufficient alternative fuels infrastructure was available in the EU. It required each EU Member State to develop a national policy framework for the deployment of alternative fuel infrastructure, and that these met basic minimum requirements relating to each fuel and energy source that the Directive covered. The Directive also required that clear and consistent information was provided to consumers about which vehicles were able to use which fuels, and that this information was made available where vehicles were bought and refuelled/recharged.

Supporting the development of the alternative fuels infrastructure Directive 

In the course of the last couple of years, TEPR, as part of a consortium led by Ricardo Energy & Environment, has supported the European Commission on both the evaluation of the AFID and the development of this legislation. The evaluation – a backward-looking study that sought to identify the impact of the Directive – was undertaken from 2019 to 2020, whereas the study in support of the Impact Assessment that accompanied the Commission’s proposed revision of the legislation, was finalised in 2021. The latter work contributed to the form of the Commission’s proposal to amend the legislation, which was published as part of the Commission’s ‘Fit for 55’ package published in mid July 2021.

Further information

The study in support of the development of the proposal to amend the legislation has been published and can be downloaded from TEPR’s ‘Low carbon transport fuels’ page. The report supporting the evaluation will also be uploaded to this page, once it has been published. For more information on the project, or on TEPR’s work more generally, please contact Ian Skinner at TEPR (ian.skinner@tepr.co.uk) or call +44 (0) 7521 063224.


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

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