The big e-fuel lie

(Transport and Environment, 31 Mar 2023) The e-fuel lobby’s main backers, the oil industry, are looking to derail mass electrification.

And so, after weeks of drama, the e-fuels saga has ended. Although the FDP and its engine acolytes were quick to declare victory, in reality the 100% zero-emission goal was adopted without changes. Engines were thrown a very weak lifeline, depending on a series of new legal acts. Even if a carve-out is created, e-fuels will be no match for EVs. 

But that’s only half the story. The e-fuel lobby’s backers, mainly the oil industry, are not looking for a fair contest between e-fuels and electric vehicles (EVs) – they are looking to derail mass electrification. They were roundly defeated until a few weeks ago. Thanks to Scholz and the FDP, they now emerge emboldened.

The origin of the e-fuels saga dates back to the post-Dieselgate era. Pre-2015 the oil industry hadn’t worried much about Europe’s CO2 standards. Then Dieselgate, the Paris Agreement and the rise of EVs changed everything. EVs are a mortal threat to big oil – once cars go electric, vans and trucks will follow, and half of oil demand evaporates. That’s why, since 2016, the oil lobby in Europe has ramped up its promotion of “clean fuels” as an alternative to EVs.

External link

Transport and Environment, 31 Mar 2023: The big e-fuel lie