The EU has stepped up its ambitions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as part of the EU Green Deal.
This also includes emissions from road transport, which are specified in the EU’s “Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy”. The ambitions are in contrast to the current emissions trend in the road transport sector. In this article, the current regulatory framework for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from cars and fuels based on tank-to-wheel and well-to-tank approaches, which appeal to different stakeholders, is mirrored against the scientific life cycle analysis and the well-to-wheel approach. In an analysis of the combined emissions of well-to-tank and tank-to-wheel for different energy sources and vehicle technologies, it is shown that the individual values can be drastically misleading in relation to the actual total emissions in the well-to-wheel perspective. Consequently, not only are the real total emission values of different energy carrier-vehicle technology combinations misrepresented, but also unjustified, biased incentives are set in favour of certain energy carriers and vehicle technologies over others.

Gas and gas-fuelled internal combustion vehicles are particularly negatively affected. The article shows that this is at odds with the potential of gas to reduce greenhouse gases in road transport and in contrast to the important role that gas will have for the future net-zero energy system as a whole. In the final section, suggestions are made on how current regulatory flaws can be addressed to create regulation and incentives that are closer to the theoretical total emissions presented in the life cycle analysis.

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Effects of European CO2-Regulations for Vehicles on the European Energy System“:
(June 2021)