In 2003, the EU adopted Directive 2003/30/EC on the promotion of the use of biofuels or other renewable fuels for transport, which sets a target of 5.75%, calculated on the basis of energy content, of all petrol and diesel for transport purposes placed on their markets by 31st December 2010. This share rises to a minimum 10% in every Member State in 2020 under the RES Directive (energy content of the transport fuels listed in Annex III).
The new directive sets sustainability criteria for biofuels and bioliquids (“irrespective of whether the raw materials were cultivated inside or outside the territory of the Communiy”) that aim to ensure that the biofuels used in the EU are “sustainable biofuels” (GHG savings, avoiding negative impacts on biodiversity and land use, respecting existing agri-environmental legislation in the EU – if raw material cultivated in the EU, Commission to report every 2 years on Member States and third countries that are a significant source of biofuels or raw materials, etc.). The directive also sets up a system of verification of compliance with the sustainability criteria (see section on Sustainable Bioenergy).
Directive 2003/30/EC is repealed by Directive 2009/28/EC (RES Directive) from 1st January 2012.
As EREC pointed out in its recent RE-thinking 2050 publication, the need for a “transportation reform” is more urgent now than ever. Measures to improve efficiency, expand the use of biofuels as well as the promotion of the uptake of new vehicle technologies such as electric, renewable hydrogen and hybrid cars are needed in order to significantly reduce oil demand in the transport sector (see section Future Energy Policy – 2050).
Biofuels will play a key role in making the transport sector sustainable. The EU is the world’s leading region for both production and consumption of biodiesel which accounts for 63% of biofuel supply in the EU in 2007. On the other hand, bioethanol is the most important biofuel at a global level, with the EU covering about 10% of its supply.