Policy statement

Energy Options to Power Transport

This policy statement considers which energy options are available to break the UK’s dependency on fossil fuels.

Currently the European Union governs the fuels used within our transport sector by two directives: the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) and the Fuel Quality Directive (FQD).

We believe three key issues still remain:

  1. The modification of vehicles to allow the transitions to new fuels.
  2. The exact energy demand and hence fuel mix options to meet the reduced target.
  3. The clarification that the new regime really does represent the emission reduction demand when all the lifecycle issues are taken into account.

With global economies and population growing, the amount of liquid fuel will increase. Current EU directives state through the RED that member states are to source 10% of the energy used in road and rail transport from renewable sources by 2020, and the FQD sets environmental requirements for reductions in air pollution from petrol and diesel fuels, including fuel quality, as well as binding targets to reduce the fuel’s lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions.

Key recommendations

  1. The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council should continue to provide research & development funding to focus on the growth of advanced and flex fuel vehicles (vehicles which run efficiently on different fuels), focusing on combustion, engine durability and material compatibility.
  2. The Department for Transport should develop a roadmap of different energy pathways to show the optimum trajectory for transport within the UK, so that the consequences of decisions are understood.
  3. The Department for Transport must work proactively with the European Commission to report on the variety of biofuels available (including issues such as energy security, sustainability and lifecycle emissions) to develop a framework to define the optimal fuel and modal relationships



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