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EU strikes alternative fuels deal

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

In an attempt to promote the use of alternative fuels in transport, EU countries will now have to ensure that enough refuelling and recharging stations are available to allow vehicles and ships using alternative fuels to move freely on EU roads and waterways.

Alternative fuels for transport

Negotiators from the EU Council and Parliament reached an informal agreement on the matter, which will encourage the use of alternative fuels, such as natural gas and electricity, for road and water transport.

"This is a crucial step forward for the development of alternative fuels. It represents a balanced agreement which holds together both the ambition and the realistic approach that makes this directive the appropriate tool to create market prospects and give operators and manufacturers certainty as to the law”, explained Carlo Fidanza, lead negotiator for Parliament.

Recharging and refuelling stations

The new EU rules will seek to reduce the EU transport sector's dependence on oil and reduce its climate impact. They will require member states to develop the infrastructure needed for alternative fuels. EU countries will have to draw up plans including targets for the number of recharging and refuelling stations provided so that electric cars and vehicles using compressed natural gas (CNG) can move freely within EU cities.

National targets

National plans and targets should ensure the following:

  • Electric cars and vehicles running on CNG can move freely in cities and urban areas by the end of 2020.
  • Trucks and other vehicles using liquefied natural gas (LNG) and CNG can move freely along roads in the EU's TEN-T core network by the end of 2025.
  • LNG-powered ships can move between TEN-T network maritime ports by the end of 2025 and between TEN-T network inland waterway ports by the end of 2030.

Member countries that choose to include hydrogen-refuelling stations in their plans will have to ensure that enough of these stations are available by 2025.


The plans should not add any extra costs to member states' budgets. However, they could include incentives and policy measures, such as building permits, parking-lot permits and fuel-station concessions.

The informal agreement still needs to be approved by the Parliament's Transport Committee and Parliament in April, and then by the Council.

Adapted from press release by Katie Woodward

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