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Summaries of EU Legislation

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Quality of petrol and diesel fuels: sulphur and lead

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Quality of petrol and diesel fuels: sulphur and lead

 

SUMMARY

The EU has introduced rules that ban petrol with lead and limit the amount of sulphur in diesel fuels in order to improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

WHAT DOES THIS DIRECTIVE DO?

Alongside the amending acts, it establishes technical specifications to be applied to petrol, diesel and biofuels used in road transport, as well as to gas oils used in non-road mobile machinery*.

KEY POINTS

Petrol

EU countries can only place on the market petrol that complies with the petrol specifications that are used when marketing petrol sold in the EU (listed in Annex I of this Directive).

EU countries can only market petrol with very small quantities of lead for use only by old vehicles. The lead content can be no higher than 0,15g/l, and can only constitute a maximum of 0,03 % of total sales.

Certain EU countries have the option of placing on the market petrol with higher vapour pressure during the summer if the temperature is low or if there are higher blends of ethanol in the petrol (which results in lower vapour pressure). The European Commission must assess the duration and desirability of these exceptions.

Diesel

EU countries can only place on the market diesel that complies with the Annex II. Annex II lists a number of specifications that are used when marketing diesel sold in the EU.

If all other requirements in Annex II are met, EU countries can introduce diesel with higher fatty-acid methyl esters (FAME), which are the primary molecules in biodiesel fuel.

The sulphur content of diesel must not exceed 10mg/kg.

Some exceptions to this rule are possible for remote regions and for EU countries with severe winter weather.

GHG emissions reductions

EU countries designate the responsibility to fuel suppliers for annual monitoring and reporting on GHG life-cycle emissions* from fuel.

Fuel suppliers must gradually reduce life cycle GHG emissions by 6 % by 31 December 2020.

Reporting

Each year, by 30 June, EU countries must submit information regarding their national fuel quality in a report that collects all the data from the previous calendar year. The data must be collected from a fuel quality monitoring system in line with relevant EU standards.

KEY TERMS

*Non-road mobile machinery – a large number of engine installations in machines used for purposes other than transporting goods or passengers, such as bulldozers, compressors, back loaders, or front loaders

*GHG life-cycle emissions reporting – reporting on the emissions from the extraction, processing and distribution of the fuels.

ACT

Directive 98/70/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 October 1998 relating to the quality of petrol and diesel fuels and amending Council Directive 93/12/EEC

REFERENCES

Act

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Directive 98/70/EC

28.12.1998

1.7.1999

OJ L 350, 28.12.1998, pp. 58–68

Amending act(s)

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Directive 2000/71/EC

4.12.2000

1.1.2001

OJ L 287, 14.11.2000, pp. 46–50

Directive 2003/17/EC

22.3.2003

30.6.2003

OJ L 76, 22.3.2003, pp. 10–19

Regulation (EC) No 1882/2003

20.11.2003

-

OJ L 284, 31.10.2003, pp. 1–53

Directive 2009/30/EC

25.6.2009

31.12.2010

OJ L 140, 5.6.2009, pp. 88–113

The successive amendments and corrections to Directive 98/70/EC have been incorporated in the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.

RELATED ACTS

2005/27/EC: Commission Recommendation of 12 January 2005 on what, for the purposes of Directive 98/70/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning petrol and diesel fuels, constitutes availability of unleaded petrol and diesel fuel with a maximum sulphur content on an appropriately balanced geographical basis (OJ L 15, 19.1.2005, pp. 26–29)

Commission Regulation (EU) No 1307/2014 of 8 December 2014 on defining the criteria and geographic ranges of highly biodiverse grassland for the purposes of Article 7b(3)(c) of Directive 98/70/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council relating to the quality of petrol and diesel fuels and Article 17(3)(c) of Directive 2009/28/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources (OJ L 351, 9.12.2014, pp. 3–5)

last update 06.10.2015

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