The Future of Transport

Transport is the lifeblood of the European economy. With 250 million cars and 34 million trucks on the roads of the 28 Member States, the transport sector ensures that goods are cost-efficiently delivered and that EU citizens can benefit from affordable mobility. Europe’s transport system relies almost entirely on the secure and resilient supply of fuels produced, stored and distributed by the EU refining and marketing industry.

Recent legislation has set ambitious targets for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from transport fuel. The Fuel Quality Directive requires a 6% reduction in the GHG intensity of transport fuels by 2020 compared to their 2010 level.
The Renewable Energy Directive has set a target of 10% for the proportion of renewables to be included in transport fuels.

New cars are required to emit an average of less than 130 grams of carbon dioxide (CO2) per kilometre by 2015. But the level in 2014 was already below this, at 123.4 grams, according to provisional data from the European Environment Agency (EEA). By 2021, manufacturers will have to reduce average emissions below 95 g CO2/km. Electric vehicles are likely to become a favoured way to meet this target even though such regulation treatment completely ignores power production emissions.

This non-technology-neutral treatment of electricity used in cars and light commercial vehicles risks distracting from the real achievements and potential in automotive technology: improving the efficiency of the vehicles and the ICE-based powertrain.

Policymaking is now moving beyond these milestones and the European Commission has launched a public debate on a long-term vision for the structure and functioning of the European transport sector for 2030.


As the chief provider of fuels for transport, the refining industry wants to play a major, constructive role in this debate. We are keen to help develop realistic proposals and achievable targets that combine environmental goals with a competitive EU economy.

In particular, given the importance of affordable transport to European business and to citizen’s quality of life, we urge a pragmatic approach that is compatible with the robust economic growth needed to create jobs and maintain living standards. The 230 million cars and 34 million trucks on the roads of the 28 Member States reliably deliver goods and allow Europeans to enjoy affordable mobility.

All interested stakeholders – ranging from the car industry and its supply chain to local communities – should be part of the debate, to ensure they assess policy recommendations thoroughly and transparently. It is important that eventual policy decisions do not jeopardise the existing system, which has a long record of successful functioning combined with constant improvements in cost and efficiency.