Each year, under the requirements of the European Union (EU) Fuel Quality Directive (FQD) (1), EU Member States must report various types of information relating to the quality of petrol and diesel fuels sold in their territories. More specifically, Member States must sample fuels each year and analyse their technical characteristics to ensure that they are consistent with the requirements of the FQD. From 2015 onwards, the European Environment Agency (EEA) is supporting the European Commission's Directorate-General Climate Action in the compilation, quality checking and dissemination of information reported under the FQD.
The requirements of the FQD have evolved with the introduction of new fuel specifications and reporting requirements. The first FQD specifications for petrol and diesel sold for road transport in the EU came into force on 1 January 2000, the second on 1 January 2005 and the third on 1 January 2009, all of which limited the sulphur content of all automotive road fuels in the EU to 10 parts per million. Additional requirements are defined in the European Standard for the Fuel Quality Monitoring System (EN 14274).
This report provides a summary of the information reported by Member States for 2014, describing the quality of petrol and diesel used for road transport in the EU.
All Member States submitted fuel quality reports for 2014, although some Member States provided reports later than the required deadline of 30 June 2014. The key findings from the reported information are listed below.
- Fuel sales in just nine Member States accounted for > 80% of total EU fuel sales in 2014. The 13 Member States with the lowest fuel sales accounted for < 10% of total EU sales.
- EU fuel sales continue to be dominated by diesel: 70% (245 876 million litres) of fuel sold was diesel and 30% was petrol (105 566 million litres). Diesel sales increased by 1% compared with the previous year, whereas petrol sales decreased by 0.5%.
- The fraction of diesel fuel sales has increased over the years, from a share of total sales in 2001 of 55.6% to a share of 70% in 2014. This reflects to a large degree the increasing dieselisation of Europe's vehicle fleet during that period. Diesel fuel consumption is significant in most of the 28 EU Member States (> 60% of total fuel sales) with the exception of Malta, Greece and Cyprus.
- The majority of petrol sales in 2014 comprised the petrol grade minimum Research Octane Number (RON) = 95, which accounted for 81.7% of the total petrol fuel sales; 12.2% of sales were 95 ≤ RON < 98; and 5.8% were RON ≥ 98. There was an insignificant proportion of minimum RON = 91 sales (0.3% of petrol sales).
- Almost all diesel sold in the EU contains biodiesel, as 99% of diesel fuel is of the B7 product type (i.e. containing up to 7% fatty acid methyl esters), whereas the majority of petrol sold contains bioethanol.
- Of petrol sold in the EU in 2014, 72.4% was of the product type E5 (i.e. having up to a 5% ethanol content, where the ethanol is derived from biofuels or is of biogenic origin). A total of 10% was E10 (i.e. up to 10% ethanol content) and 17.4% was E0 (no ethanol content). Only 0.1% of petrol was E+ (i.e. > 10% ethanol content).