The Fuel Quality Directive – Article 7a

A focus on compliance, the means and the least administrative burden

A focus on compliance, the means and the least administrative burden.

The Fuel Quality Directive update of April 2009 has set – next to the technical standards for road transport fuels – an obligation on fuel suppliers to reduce the greenhouse gas (GHG) emission intensity of automotive fuels marketed in 2020 by 6% compared to the GHG intensity of all automotive fuels used in 2010. This GHG emission reduction intensity is defined under article 7a of directive 2009/30/EC. The implementing directive of April 2015 (directive 2015/652) defines how to calculate the GHG intensity of automotive fuels and was established after a long debate.

Since the publication of the implementing directive, the focus has been on implementing issues around the reporting obligation for fuel suppliers on the origin of crudes used to make automotive fuels and on imported finished automotive fuels, as well as on the ability to use upstream emission reductions as a compliance option for the 2020 GHG intensity reduction objective.

The reporting obligation on origin of crudes used to make automotive fuels and of imported automotive fuels will – in-line with the provisions provided in the implementing directive 2015/652 – be shifted as a reporting obligation from the fuel supplier to the crude importer as part of the existing Council regulation 2964/95. This is made possible by legislative proposals in the governance regulation. Implementation to the changes in the origin reporting obligations under the Fuel Quality Directive can be executed as part of the FQD 2019 Review.

The use of upstream emission reductions as compliance mechanism has been addressed by the Commission through the publication of a guidance note on approaches to quantify, verify, validate, monitor and report upstream emission reductions (UER) in November 2016. Industry and Member State discussions took place to explore how a central UER register could be established that ensures that UERs, when used as compliance option for the article 7a obligation, avoid any possible misuse, and in particular double or multiple counting. Unfortunately, this did not lead to the establishment of such a system and the effort was halted in early 2019.

The current focus of FuelsEurope is to help providing means to achieve the 2020 GHG intensity reduction objective with several alternatives like biofuels, lower GHG-fuels such as natural gas, LPG and possibility electricity and efforts to reduce the GHG emissions from energy or GHG emitted during the crude oil production phase. All of this in combination with the least administrative burden.

FQD ongoing activities

Currently two (2) main activities are ongoing with respect to the FQD.

  • At the end of 2019 the Commission announced that the 6% reduction obligation will continue after 2020.
  • A review of the FQD started early 2020 and is expected to be conclude early 2021

FuelsEurope is actively involved in both FQD ongoing activities.