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Europe Changes Fuel Labels

Starting 12 October 2019, all cars manufactured or registered in the European Union will have a new label for fuels. We’ll explain which label is yours.

Starting 12 October 2019, all cars manufactured or registered in the European Union will have a new label for fuels. We’ll explain which label is yours.

The European Union has developed three types of labels that clearly distinguish each type of fuel that cars use.

On 12 October 2019 these labels went into effect, which are placed on the caps of containers.

As you’ll see, it is a label that is easy to recognise and differentiate. Below, we’ll break down the details of Directive 2014/94/EU.


Example of the European labels for fuels

  • Petroleum: represented with a circle with a letter E inside, for ethanol, and a number. This number refers to the percentage of the component that it includes. For example: E85, the car fuel contains 85% ethanol.

  • Diesel: square-shaped label representing diesel. It also includes a B next to its number. The B refers to biodiesel, and the number refers to the percentage of the component it includes. However, the letters XTL may appear on diesel labels. This means that the car uses paraffinic diesel, made from a renewable material or fossil fuel, which allows obtaining—by synthesis or hydro-treatment—a fuel very similar to normal diesel fossil fuel.

  • Gas: these fuels are represented by a rhombus. Inside, they include the letters that refer to each one of these fuels.

    • H2: corresponds to hydrogen

    • CNG: corresponds to compressed natural gas

    • LPG: corresponds to liquid petroleum gas

    • LNG: corresponds to liquid natural gas

“All new cars in the EU include this label near the caps of containers.”

Electric cars still will not be included in this new legislation. However, in coming months, environmentally sustainable cars are expected to have their own sticker that indicates the type of fuel required for their operation.

Moreover, you should know that cars will not be the only ones to incorporate this new measure. Dealers, service providers and user manuals for cars also must introduce the labels that indicate the fuel that the vehicle requires.


Where are these labels valid?

The 28 countries that form part of the European Union are obliged to include a label that indicates if the car uses petroleum, diesel or gas on newly manufactured cars, in addition to those that have been recently registered.

In addition, countries like Iceland, Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey also have announced that they will join this harmonisation initiative of the car sector.

The United Kingdom, however, has not yet made any declaration regarding this matter. Furthermore, car manufacturers will include the fuel labels on each car on the production chain, and so exported vehicles will have these labels.

This measure is intended to incorporate and give importance to alternative fuels within the EU.


What will happen to the former nomenclature?

If you’re not thinking about buying a new car, don't worry. Everything will continue to work the same when filling up the tank.

That is, you’ll be able to go to the petrol station and continue asking for petroleum 95. This new European label will be additional information that will be included at service stations so that users know which fuel is for their car.

“The common way of calling different fuels (petroleum 95, petroleum 98, etc.) will continue to be used in petrol stations.”
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