Transport Fuels

Petrol and diesel fuel are the most common fuels

The global transport system is largely based on fossil fuels. Entirely new fuel and energy options, which require new technology in cars, are only gradually becoming more common. The general impression is that in 2030, still more than 80% of energy consumption in transport will be based on petroleum products.

The most commonly used liquid fuels are petrol, diesel fuel, light fuel oil, heavy fuel oil and jet fuel, i.e., kerosene. The advantages of petrol and diesel fuel include good availability, high energy density and easy handling. Liquid fuels also include a high ethanol blend.

Additionally, natural gas, biogas and liquid gas as well as electricity are used as energy for transport. Various new fuels, such as hydrogen, are being developed for transport purposes.

Fuels suitable for current systems provide a cost-effective way ahead

Fuel producers, the car industry, and other operators in the sector collaborate in the continuous development of fuels with the objective of a highly sustainable and energy efficient transport system. Both traditional and new fuels are developed.

Fuels that are suitable for the existing car fleet and that already have a fuel distribution system in place can easily be introduced immediately.  The most cost-effective way to introduce new fuels to the market is to make blends of biofuels and fossil fuel that are suitable for the existing distribution system and the existing car fleet.

When developing fuels, it is important to take into account the suitability of each fuel for its purpose. In road transport, for example, it is easier to increase the use of biofuels for passenger cars than for heavy-duty vehicles.

All transport fuels come with biocomponents in Finland

Transport fuels are developed also in Finland taking into account energy and climate goals, such as increasing the use of renewable energy. Today, all transport fuels distributed in Finland contain biocomponents.

Quality requirements and standards for transport fuels

Liquid fuels are high-tech products, which meet the EU’s strict quality requirements and complementing European and national quality standards. These standards define the minimum requirements to ensure trouble-free operation of fuels.

European standards are drawn up in the technical committees of CEN, the European Committee for Standardization. They are prepared by experts in collaboration with various parties, such as fuel producers and engine manufacturers. In Finland, the quality standards are valid as SFS-EN standards. Quality standard SFS-EN 228 sets out the requirements for motor gasoline and SFS-EN 590 for diesel fuel.

The Fuel Quality Directive supplements the Renewable Energy Directive, setting a target of reducing carbon intensity of fuels by 10% by 2020. Of this, 6% is a binding obligation and 4% is based on voluntary measures. The mandatory share will be implemented in practice by increasing the bio-content of fuels.

The Fuel Quality Directive also determines the concentration limit values for biocomponents in fuels. For example, petrol may contain a maximum of 10% v/v of ethanol. These obligations are recorded in the national fuel quality decree, which entered into force at the beginning of 2011.

Petrol and diesel fuel grades in Finland

Increasing the ethanol content is only one of several ways to achieve the environmental targets for transport. At the beginning of 2011, the ethanol concentration of 95 octane petrol was raised in Finland (95 E10).

The main grades of petrol in Finland are the 95 octane 95 E10 and the 98 octane 98 E5. The suitability of petrol for a car is determined by the octane rating and ethanol content: the octane requirement of the car must be met, and the ethanol content must not exceed the suitability limit set for the car.

The bioethanol content in 95 E10 petrol may vary and can be a maximum of 10% v/v. Alternatively, the E10 petrol may also contain ethers or other alcohols allowed by the Fuel Directive. The E10 petrol is suitable for use in the majority of current vehicle stock running on 95 octane petrol.

The 98 E5 petrol may contain up to 5% v/v ethanol. It is suitable for engines where E10 petrol cannot be used. This is mainly the case with older vehicles.

There are different diesel fuels on the market. For the majority of them, the biocomponent is renewable diesel fuel made by Finnish refineries through hydrotreatment. Waste and residues, such as vegetable oil and animal fats, are used as raw material. The level of biocomponent varies and has no prescribed maximum level, because the product’s chemical composition is similar to normal diesel fuel. Diesel oil that contains the so-called first generation biodiesel (FAME) with up to 7% v/v biocomponent can also be put on the market.

Gas fuels in traffic

Natural gas filling stations are located mainly in the southern parts of Finland in the area covered by the natural gas network. More information: www.gasum.com.

In Finland, LPG is not used as motor vehicle fuel, and consequently, it is not available even for the tourists' vehicles.

Finnish Petroleum and Biofuels Association | Unioninkatu 22 | 00130 Helsinki  |  Finland  | office@oil.fi