Brussels — The EU member states‘ permanent representatives have endorsed the compromise reached between the Council and the European Parliament concerning a directive on building up minimum infrastructure for alternative fuels across the EU.
Michalis Chrisochoidis, the Greek Minister of Infrastructure, Transport and Networks, commented: „Today is an important day for the Greek Presidency, the European Union, and the future of sustainable transport. We have the approval of the proposal for the Directive on the Deployment of Alternative Fuels Infrastructure, a directive that aims to minimise oil dependence for the transport sector and mitigate its environmental impact, ensuring the build-up of alternative fuels infrastructure and the implementation of common technical specifications for this infrastructure in the Union.“
A vicious circle
Creating a sufficient network of recharging and refuelling stations is considered crucial in order to drive consumer demand for vehicles powered by „clean fuel“, such as electricity, hydrogen and natural gas, and to encourage manufacturers to develop such vehicles and to sell them at competitive prices.
Currently the use of clean fuel is being held back by the high cost of vehicles, low demand and the lack of infrastructure. In this vicious circle, refuelling stations are not being built because there are not enough vehicles. Vehicles are not sold at competitive prices because there is not enough demand. Consumers do not buy the vehicles because they are expensive and the stations are not there.
The new directive aims to break this vicious circle, thus reducing transport’s dependence on oil and cutting back its greenhouse gas emissions. It also intends to promote economic growth and job creation in the EU, in particular in small and medium-sized enterprises. According to Commission estimates, alternative fuels coming gradually onto the market are expected to produce savings on the EU oil bill amounting to about €2.3 billion per year in 2030, and another €1 billion per year from the dampening of price fluctuations through improved security of energy supply.
Coordinated national policy frameworks
Under the directive, each member state will adopt a national policy framework for the market development of alternative fuels infrastructure, outlining its national targets for putting in place new recharge and refuel points and relevant supporting actions. So member states must set targets for Electricity for cars, Electricity for ships, Hydrogen, Liquefied natural gas for ships, Liquefied natural gas for trucks and Compressed natural gas.
More details on the new infrastructure rules can be found under consilium.europa.eu.
Source: EU Commission