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#4. Jos Dings: The EU Commission Must Send Clear Signals on Advanced Biofuels

09.28.16 | Podcast | By:

Recently I talked to Jos Dings, the Executive Director of NGO Transport & Environment, based in Brussels, about why transport GHGs are increasing, “dieselgate”, electric vehicles, biofuels and the European Commission’s Low Emission Mobility Strategy. What follows are a few highlights from the discussion.

On Why Transport GHGs Are Actually Increasing in Europe

“On climate, yes emissions are up since 1990, but you know they were much more up by 2007, that was peak. We had peak transport greenhouse gas emissions in 2007. And since then they have fallen by around 12%. Now that is not nearly enough, and it was to a large extent caused of course by the economic crisis and by the high oil prices that we had since 2007, which both helped to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from fuel used in transport. And also partly it was because our vehicles have become a little more efficient. But here again we have a big issue that the cars are much better in the lab in the test than they are on the road so. If you and I start driving these new cars, they’re not nearly as efficient as they are proclaimed to be.”

On the Need for Centralized Enforcement of Vehicle Emissions

“I mentioned a centralized enforcement, that is absolutely key. Without it we don’t take the root of the issue. But of course beyond that you need also better, much better testing itself. So we are going to introduce starting next year in Europe a real drive emissions test, which is essentially a random cycle. So what you do you take a vehicle that’s going to be certified, you take it out of the lab, you take it on the road and you subject it to a random driving pattern you know. And then you establish a limit for how much the vehicle can emit under this random cycle. And this is extremely important, the randomness of this thing. Because if the cycle is random it becomes a lot more hard, a lot harder for the manufacturer to optimize the vehicle for a test.”

On the Reversal of “Dieselization”

“And more silently you’re seeing diesel development programs being put on hold, you know that there’s not much money being poured into the further development of the diesel engine anymore. And you know that’s exactly I think what we need in Europe. We have lost decades in Europe by investing essentially in the wrong technology, technology that is expensive and let’s not forget a diesel cars are 2000 Euros more expensive than a regular gasoline vehicle…So I think it was long overdue that Europe’s industry recognized that it needed to put its money elsewhere. But we’re now, and to quite an extent due to dieselgate, we’re starting to see that happen.”

On Whether European Consumers Are Ready for Electric Vehicles

“The question whether consumers are ready is a bit of a chicken and an egg. If there’s no supply, we have very, very limited supply of electric vehicles in Europe. And then you get no demands, you have a choice of hundreds and hundreds of different models regular vehicles, you have here any choice, whether you want to choose a battery electric vehicle. So that’s you know the first thing that really needs to be resolved is choice that every, every volume manufacturer has a range of EVs in its portfolio so we can  have a proper leveled playing field competition.”

On the Future of Advanced Biofuels

“You say as long as you have an all the above biofuels the better ones will simply not have a chance. So you need to send a very clear signal to the marketplace that these are the kinds of fuels we can accept and these ones are the ones we cannot accept and not be ambiguous about it. And that gives advanced biofuels a much, much bigger chance of success. If they have to compete with much inferior fuels because we’ve got the same goodies and subsidies and mandates and zero counting, then it will remain very, very difficult for advanced biofuels to compete in the marketplace.”

Listen to the podcast and learn more about what Dings thinks about the future of fuels in the EU.

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