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European election ahead:
Roadmap to sustainable and affordable mobility

How can sustainable mobility be affordable for everyone? 

How do we achieve the ambitious climate targets in the transport sector?

What role do alternative fuels play in this? 

These and other questions were the focus of the Parliamentary Evening organised by the EAC European Automobile Clubs (EAC) in Brussels on 6 March 2024. Representatives from politics, associations and industry discussed solutions for sustainable and affordable mobility.

All new cars registered in Europe will be zero-emission by 2035, by 2050 all vehicles are to be zero emission. The current EU regulation focuses exclusively on tailpipe emissions. In fact, this means a ban on internal combustion vehicles and a focus on electric vehicles. This decision is to be reviewed in 2026.

What does this mean for consumers' individ
ual mobility

In the premises of the Representation of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia to the European Union, EAC President Holger Küster discussed with MEP Jan-Christoph Oetjen (RENEW), MEP Thomas Rudner (S&D), Algara Caste (eFuel Alliance e.V.), and Mitja Schulz (Association of the Automotive Industry - VDA) whether the ambitious goals can be achieved with an exclusive focus on battery-electric vehicles.

Ulrich Selzer, automotive expert and member of the Commission Mobility, presented the results of an independent mobility study by the Commission Mobility of the “Senat der Wirtschaft” in an opening statement. The expert study, based on miles driven, calculated and analyzed the real possibilities of CO2 reduction in road transport until 2035 in an evidence-based manner. The study concludes that a reduction in CO2 emissions of up to 68 percent by the year 2035 is possible. However, this can only be achieved with a mix of different propulsion technologies such as electric, hydrogen, e-fuels, and conventional fuels.

In the subsequent constructive and lively debate about the path Europe should take to achieve the climate goals in the transportation sector, different positions and approaches were evident. Jan Christoph Oetjen advocated for technological neutrality in the transportation sector, while Thomas Rudner applied the brakes. However, everyone agreed on one thing: Urgent action is needed.

Panelists (fr. l.) Ulrich Selzer, MEP Jan-Christoph Oetjen, Algara Castle, Mitja Schulz, MEP Thomas Rudner, Holger Küster

Ulrich Selzer presenting the study: CO2-neutral traffic: paths to solutions



We lose sight of our goals if we don't find solutions for the existing fleet. Over 280 million cars with combustion engines are driving on Europe's roads, while globally there are approximately 1.5 billion. With a global annual manufacturing capacity of nearly 90 million vehicles and an immediate halt to the sale of vehicles with combustion engines, it would take over 16 years to replace the entire vehicle fleet. Realistically, the electrification of the global vehicle fleet will take much longer, as vehicles with combustion engines will continue to be produced and sold until 2035, and with a European average lifespan of over 12 years, they will not be replaced until much later. Therefore, we need all technologies and options for the existing fleet to achieve the ambitious climate goals. Climate neutral mobility cannot be achieved without technological openness.

Holger Küster, EAC-President 


Climate neutrality and technological openness only work together. We need alternative fuels to decarbonize the existing fleet and should utilize already available climate-neutral fuels to achieve climate effects and CO2 reduction in road transport. The environmental impact of electric vehicles must be holistically assessed and evaluated through a life cycle assessment, rather than solely focusing on tailpipe emissions. A corresponding categorization of vehicles based on their environmental footprint could create clarity for consumers.

MEP Jan-Christoph Oetjen, RENEW

"E-Fuels should primarily be used where no other options are available, such as in aviation or maritime transport. At present, I do not see E-Fuels as a solution to make road transport CO2-neutral. Reversing the phase-out of combustion engines would be a disastrous decision for the automotive industry, which is preparing for the transition to electric mobility and could unsettle businesses and consumers. The expansion of charging infrastructure is crucial to achieving climate goals.

MEP Thomas Rudner, S&D


Enabling climate-neutral mobility - in Germany as well as in the rest of the world - is the guiding principle of the German automotive industry. Our companies are driving this mission forward with high investments and innovations. We are convinced: The main contribution comes from the electrification of propulsion systems. In addition to electromobility, we need synthetic fuels, or E-Fuels, and advanced biofuels (alternative fuels) for the existing fleet - currently around 1.5 billion vehicles worldwide - so that they can travel climate-neutrally. The EU Commission must develop a legally secure and technically feasible framework so that vehicles fueled exclusively with CO2-neutral fuels can still be approved after 2035.

Mitja Schulz, VDA


"Using road transport as a driving force to produce sustainable fuels in a resource- and cost-efficient way would benefit the entire transportation sector. Revenues from the sale of renewable fuels in road transport would be reinvested in the expansion of corresponding production facilities This would not only promote the availability of renewable fuels for aviation and maritime transport but also lead to lower production costs due to economies of scale. So far, the politically necessary incentives are lacking for this.”

Algara Castle, eFuel Alliance e.V.


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