EUR-Lex Access to European Union law

Back to EUR-Lex homepage

This document is an excerpt from the EUR-Lex website

Cleaner fuels for road transport

Cleaner fuels for road transport

Transport fuels make a significant contribution to greenhouse gas emissions in the European Union. This law establishes a framework for monitoring and reducing fuel life cycle greenhouse gas emissions*, thus helping to achieve greenhouse gas reduction goals.


Directive 2009/30/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 amending Directive 98/70/EC as regards the specification of petrol, diesel and gas-oil and introducing a mechanism to monitor and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and amending Council Directive 1999/32/EC as regards the specification of fuel used by inland waterway vessels and repealing Directive 93/12/EEC.



It revises the fuel quality directive (Directive 98/70/EC). It amends a range of elements, including fuel specifications, and introduces a mechanism aimed to monitor and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and ensure the sustainability of biofuels.


  • The law requires fuel suppliers to report and reduce the life cycle greenhouse gas emissions of energy supplied for road transport. The goal is a reduction of life cycle greenhouse gas emissions by 6 % (or up to 10 % if the EU country chooses) per unit of energy from fuel supplied by December 2020.
  • Biofuels should be produced sustainably. In order for a biofuel to count towards the greenhouse gas reductions in this directive, it must fulfil the sustainability criteria, which require biofuels to not be produced on land with high biodiversity value, or to be made from materials with high carbon stock.
  • Harmonisation of the rules for fuels, setting technical specifications on health and environmental grounds, in particular reducing the sulphur content of diesel and petrol to 10 mg/kg max.
  • The directive facilitates the blending of bio components in fuel (for example, up to 10 % ethanol in petrol), EU countries must ensure that petrol and diesel placed on the market should comply with the requirements set out in Annex I and Annex II to this directive respectively.
  • The law requires appropriate information to be given to consumers concerning the biofuel content of petrol and diesel.


Because of substantial progress in vehicle technology and the development and growing availability of biofuels, the European Commission, in 2007, proposed a review of the specifications for fuel quality in Directive 98/70/EC.

For more information, see the European Commission's webpages on:


Fuel life cycle greenhouse gas emissions refer to all net emissions attributed to the fuel. In other words, the terms refers not just to emissions caused by combustion, but also by cultivating, extracting, transporting, processing and distributing the fuel.



Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Directive 2009/30/EC



OJ L 140, 5.6.2009, pp. 88-113

last update 30.04.2015