In a draft law, the European Union agreed on an exemption for certain types of synthetic fuels in order to ban the sale of internal combustion engines after 2035. EU authorities reportedly reached an agreement with Germany, which insisted on the right to sell cars with internal combustion engines after 2035, but only models designed to run on synthetic electric fuel (e-fuel).
The agreement finally puts an end to the disputes over the policy of “climate neutrality”, which endangered the unity of the EU. At the beginning of March, the EU Parliament postponed a vote on a sales ban for new combustion engines after 2035. It had to be postponed after German authorities, supported by automakers, said they had no intention of maintaining a ban without including certain synthetic fuels in the exemption.
According to Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice President of the European Green Deal project, an agreement has been reached with Germany on the use of e-fuel in future cars. Work is now underway to adopt CO2 emission standards for cars as soon as possible.
However, not everyone shares the optimism of European officials. Greenpeace has already said that such an imperfect compromise undermines the concept of climate action in the transport sector, damaging Europe. As you know, electric fuel or e-fuel is a synthetic fuel made from carbon dioxide taken from the atmosphere and with the addition of hydrogen; only electricity from “green” sources is used in the synthesis. Although carbon dioxide is also released during the combustion of such fuels, the “zero carbon balance” is generally maintained.
Some experts point out that producing synthetic fuels in this way takes a lot of energy and e-fuel cars produce almost the same amount of greenhouse gases as conventional internal combustion engines. According to some estimates, an exception in the interests of Germany, which has a developed production of internal combustion engine cars, will lead to adverse consequences. For this reason, cumulative sales of electric vehicles in the European Union will be 46 million units lower by 2050 than would otherwise be possible. At the same time, by 2030, the average European driver will pay €782 more per year to fill up their car with synthetic fuel than for regular petrol.