Position paper – Revision of the Fuel Quality Directive (FQD)

Europe’s auto makers are strongly committed to the de-fossilisation of road transport in support of the EU goal to reach climate neutrality by 2050 and also to attain the objectives of the Green Deal.

To meet those goals, it is vital that the Fit for 55 climate package delivers in many areas, including the revision of the Fuel Quality Directive (FQD), especially in preparation for the Euro 7/VII emission standards.

ACEA’s earlier position paper on the Renewable Energy Use Directive (RED) is available here, but it is important to also raise the profile of the Fuel Quality Directive, which sets out health and environment-related quality parameters for liquid fuels.

The European Commission will publish proposals for Euro 7/VII pollutant emission standards in July 2022, so it is right to request that in parallel fuel quality is improved to enable the system of engine, exhaust aftertreatment and fuel to work in harmony.

As this new ACEA position paper explains, the Commission’s proposal for the FQD in Fit for 55 is lacking ideas and the foresight that the FQD must also support new emission standards.

The limited fuel parameters in the FQD for petrol and diesel have not been updated since 2009. The corresponding CEN standards have, in several respects, not been updated quickly enough and, for some key parameters, allow too wide fuel blending flexibility. The consequence is that fleet surveillance for pollutant emissions by Real Driving Emissions (RDE) testing, which requires the use of market fuels, can be conducted in different countries with different fuel quality. 

The FQD should not be ignored in Fit for 55 as it can play a major role in delivering new fuels to help modern engines deliver lower pollutant emissions and better engine efficiency (hence lower CO2). However, we should not forget that better fuel quality also delivers air quality benefits from the older fleet. The FQD needs updating now to reflect modern fuel production capability and to ensure consistent EU-wide fuel quality for the benefit of customers.

Key messages

  1. Improve key parameters of petrol and diesel that will lead to better control of quality and lower pollutant emissions from old and new vehicles benefiting air quality.
  2. Aim for a petrol grade with guaranteed higher octane level to give assurances to design new engines with higher efficiency (and improved CO2 emissions) and that such higher octane fuels will be widely available across the EU market.
  3. Reject proposed increase of diesel from B7 to B10. Keep EU diesel at B7 and instead expand opportunity for higher blending of renewable components such as HVO. 
  4. Introduce measures to stop the use of nitrogenous compounds (used to cheaply raise octane) because they cause engine problems.
  5. Introduce a new Annex in FQD to set key quality parameters for methane-based transport fuel for the latest generation of methane engines.
  6. Ensure highest fuel quality and consistency across the EU is the key driver of the FQD to meet customer needs.
  7. Today’s FQD is far too permissive so give the FQD more teeth by ensuring that fuels specified in the FQD (complemented by the appropriate CEN standards) are required to be sold EU-wide.
  8. Address these issues now in the current discussions between the EU co-legislators. 
The European Commission’s proposal for the Fuel Quality Directive (FQD) in Fit for 55 is lacking ideas and the foresight that the FQD must also support new emission standards.

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Content type Publication
Vehicle types All vehicles
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