The European Parliament on 15th April gave its final approval to new EU guidelines to ensure the build-up of refueling infrastructure for transport running on alternative fuels, including natural gas. The guidelines also contain unified standards for the design and use of recharging and refueling stations for all EU Member States.
According to the new directive, Member States will have to build up a minimum infrastructure for alternative fuels, in conformity with the common EU-wide standards for equipment. The States will be obliged to provide users with information on the new refueling stations, as well as on comparative prices for the conventional and alternative fuels.
The EC Vice-President Siim Kallas, responsible for transport, said: “This is a major innovation and a milestone in the roll-out of clean fuels in Europe. These new rules are a direct response to calls from industry, investors, consumers and national authorities for a clear framework to set the future direction for clean fuels in Europe… This vote sends a clear signal that Europe is putting clean fuels at the heart of its transport policy, and the drive to develop a transport system fit for the 21st century.”
A special place in the new EU strategy on alternative transport fuels is allocated to natural gas. Europe is planning to encourage consumption of compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG) as motor fuel in the private and commercial sectors and in marine transportation as well. According to the European Commission, currently about 1 million CNG cars (0.5% of the total fleet) drive along the roads of Europe and the industry is planning to increase the number tenfold by 2020. In compliance with the plans of European regulators, by 2020 LNG fueling terminals are to be installed in all 139 maritime and inland ports of Europe and LNG refueling stations to be built every 400 km along the main European roads.