European Parliament votes in favour of sulphur-free fuels by 2008

Nov 07, 2001 01:00 AM

The European Parliaments environment committee voted in favour of a complete transition to free-free transport fuel by 2008, lining itself up for a fight with the European Commission. The EU executive's May proposal to amend the 1998 fuels directive would set a deadline of 2011 for all fuels for road and off-road vehicles to have 10 ppm sulphur content (free-free). The committee also introduced amendments to the Commissions text that governments could introduce fiscal incentives for 10ppm earlier than the 2008 deadline. Germany will unilaterally bring in such incentives from 2003.

"I was very pleased with the outcome," Heidi Hautala said. "It shows the environment committee and the whole Parliament is committed to bringing in zero-sulphur fuel as early as possible. And I don't doubt that more member states will follow." The committee also followed Heidi Hautala's recommendation that once the timetable for sulphur is set, the question should not be reopened at the next review of fuel quality, which the Commission has proposed for 2006 although the parliamentary committee wants 2005.
"I was pleased with this -- it provides legal certainty for the refining industry to make their investments," Hautala said, adding that bringing the deadline for zero-sulphur to 2008 "shortens the period where there are different quality standards in Europe, and so helps the fuels distribution system." Under the committee's amendments, those member states that want to keep to the 2011 deadline on grounds of serious socio-economic difficulties", such as Spain, will have to wait until the 2005/6 review before their case is heard.

The committee's amendments also call on the EU to consider imposing limits on phosphorus and silicon in gasoline during the next review, and should look at alternative fuels, such as bio diesel, LPG and compressed natural gas. The Commission is drafting a directive on bio fuels for release by year's end.
The environment committee also voted to align the timetable for fuel standards for road and non-road vehicles, which Hautala said would pose a problem for the Council of Ministers, with which it has equal say on the dossier.
The Parliament will vote on the committees version on Nov 29. If, after a second reading, the Parliament and the Council of Ministers still cannot agree, the two institutions will embark on conciliation talks with the Commission acting as arbitrator.

Source: Platts
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