A neighbour in need: petrol crisis rocks the UK

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The United Kingdom’s fuel crisis, complete with scenes of panicked motorists queuing at petrol pumps, has led to an oversupply of Schadenfreude in much of the EU.

The lack of fuel, the lack of heavy goods vehicles drivers, the lack of food on the shelves… all of the direst predictions of Remainers seem to be coming to fruition in real time.

Taking enjoyment from the pain of others is an ugly emotion, of course, but the desire to say “I told you so” to Brexiteers is overwhelming for many – on Twitter at least.

But while the unfolding calamities may be viewed from the continent as a sort of comeuppance for leaving the EU, the difficulties facing people and small businesses suffering from the shortages are utterly serious.

The UK government is taking action to alleviate the situation, temporarily rolling back its migration stance to issue 5,000 emergency visas for HGV drivers and 5,500 poultry workers (no smirking, please).

These visas are set to expire on Christmas Eve, leading to the unsavoury prospect of those drafted in to save Britain’s Christmas becoming illegal migrants if they remain in the country for the day itself.

But just how attractive to truck drivers is the prospect of working in the UK for just a few months? According to some reports, working in Blighty may not be the golden ticket for EU workers the government thinks it is.

“Why would you want to go to Britain, jump all these hoops, face all this hostile environment, if you could go to Ireland or Holland and earn more, be respected, drive on nicer motorways with nice truck stops, and be a free European citizen and not a second-class citizen?” Tomasz Oryński, a Polish truck driver and journalist, was quoted as saying in the Financial Times.

Asked about the UK’s petrol troubles and the need for more workers, German chancellor hopeful Olaf Scholz couldn’t help but indulge in some after-the-fact lecturing.

“The free movement of labour is part of the European Union, and we worked very hard to convince the British not to leave the union,” he was reported as saying in the Guardian.

Read more about the UK’s fuel crisis at the link below.

New study throws the environmental benefits of gas-powered trucks into doubt

A new report by the clean mobility NGO Transport & Environment (T&E) finds that trucks powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) have a similar climate impact to diesel trucks, challenging the understanding of gas as a cleaner fuel source for heavy goods vehicles.

LNG trucks have been pushed by industry as a greener alternative to diesel, and an affordable transition fuel as the industry moves to electric vehicles, hydrogen power, and higher quantities of biofuels.

However, T&E’s report shows that gas-powered lorries’ greenhouse gas emissions are as high as those from trucks running on diesel, and even higher in terms of ultra-fine particles.

“Gas trucks are a dead-end for cutting emissions and will even exacerbate the climate crisis today… It’s time for gas fuelling stations to be dropped from the EU’s infrastructure targets and for governments to stop incentivising the purchase of LNG trucks,” said Fedor Unterlohner, freight manager at T&E.

To read the report, click here.

A guide to green jet fuel

Aviation has revolutionised connectivity in Europe, but greater air travel has come with an environmental cost – prior to the pandemic-driven downturn, aviation accounted for 3.8% of total CO2 emissions in the EU.

To meet its climate goals, including its aim to reduce emissions across the bloc by 55% by 2030, the European Commission has proposed a number of policies aimed at cutting the aviation industry’s carbon footprint.

One of the strongest pieces of legislation is ReFuelEU Aviation, which would introduce a sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) mandate.

But while SAFs are broadly seen as the best pathway to decarbonise aviation in the short term, their uptake is not without challenges.

A lively policy debate was held by EURACTIV this morning to explore the role of SAFs in decarbonising aviation – the full event is available to watch on YouTube.

And for those looking to better understand green jet fuels, EURACTIV has put together an in-depth guide to SAFs (read more at the link below).

A roundup of the most captivating transport news.

UK puts army on standby as fuel pumps run dry

Britain put its army on standby on Monday (27 September) to help with the ongoing fuel crisis as fears over tanker driver shortages led to panic buying, leaving many of the country’s pumps dry.

Policy Brief: Sustainable aviation fuels

One of the measures that could have the most immediate effect on aircraft emissions comes in the form of European Commission proposals to impose a sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) mandate on all flights landing or departing from Europe. This policy brief looks at the various types of SAF available and analyses the role of SAFs in decarbonising aviation.

Shift to EVs means huge ‘reskilling’ job for Europe: report

The shift to electric vehicles will force huge changes in the auto industry and require EU backing for ‘reskilling’ programmes to help workers prepare for a zero-emission future, according to a report published on Tuesday (28 September).

Differences remain over alternative fuels infrastructure in EU

EU transport ministers discussed infrastructure for alternative fuels in Slovenia, which holds the rotating EU Council presidency, on Thursday (23 September), with the country’s Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec noting that quite a few differences remained between EU countries on the matter.

Fit for 55 on all fronts: Can Europe lead innovation in green maritime?

Efficient maritime transport connections are essential to the mobility of EU citizens, to developing EU regions, and to the EU economy as a whole. Rewatch this EURACTIV Virtual Conference to see how the EU can decarbonise the maritime sector, and lead in green maritime innovation.

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