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New agreement to boost use of alternative fuels By Tony Richman

May 22, 2014
To boost the take-up of alternative fuels in transport, EU countries will have to ensure that enough refuelling and recharging stations are available to enable vehicles that use alternative fuels, such as natural gas and electricity, to move freely on EU roads, under an informal agreement reached by European Council and European Parliament negotiators on Thursday 20 March 2014.

The new EU rules will seek to reduce the EU transport sector's dependence on oil and curb 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 cars using compressed natural gas (CNG) can circulate freely within EU cities.

National plans and targets should ensure that electric cars and vehicles running on CNG can move freely in cities and urban areas by the end of 2020; and that 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.

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

The plans should not add any extra costs to Member States' budgets. However, they could include incentives and policy measures such as, for example, building permits, parking-lot permits and fuel-station concessions. These plans and common standards for recharging and refuelling installations should create stable conditions and investment security needed by the private sector to develop the infrastructure.

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