EU considers watering down ‘CO2 neutrality’ standard for eFuels

(EurActiv, 1 Sep 2023) The European Commission is considering watering down a carbon neutrality requirement for e-fuels to allow combustion engine cars to be sold after 2035, internal documents show, suggesting a split in the EU executive on handling the matter.

Two years ago, the Commission tabled legislation to reduce emissions from new cars to zero by 2035 as part of reaching climate neutrality by 2050. 

New rules, adopted earlier this year, essentially ban the sale of new cars with internal combustion engines from that date unless they can run on fuels that emit no carbon dioxide. 

The German car industry pushed the carbon–neutral fuels mandate with backing from Berlin, which blocked the final adoption of the text until its demands were met.

The stalemate ended in March 2023, when the European Commission brokered an agreement with Berlin to continue allowing the registration of new cars with combustion engines even after 2035, provided they run “exclusively on CO2 neutral fuels”. 

However, an internal dispute has now emerged in the Commission on defining “CO2 neutral fuels”, pitting the directorate-general in charge of the internal market (DG GROW) and the directorate in charge of climate action (DG CLIMA), according to internal documents seen by EURACTIV.

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EurActiv, 1 Sep 2023: EU considers watering down ‘CO2 neutrality’ standard for eFuels