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Fuel: what about European standards?

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Nelly - Editor-in-Chief

The purpose of the standards is to limit the harmful effects of poor quality fuels on health and the environment. Indeed, in some countries of the world, which are not subject to the standards, the fuels contain toxic substances in too large quantities (such as sulfur). Let's take a look at the rules that protect us*.

Gasoline: SN EN 228 standard

Gasoline is a mixture of hydrocarbon molecules that boils between 50°C and 210°C. It is used as a fuel for passenger cars, small trucks, motorcycles and recreational boats. The octane number is an important quality criterion for gasoline engines. It indicates the anti-knock power of the fuel. In unleaded 95, the octane number is 95. In unleaded 98, the octane number is 98.

Gasoline can also contain biofuels. These are substitute fuels obtained from biomass (raw material of plant, animal or waste origin). They include ethanol and ETBE (ethyl tertiary butyl ether). Ethanol is obtained from sugar beet, cereals or wine residues. The standard authorizes a maximum of 5% volume of ethanol in gasoline (without obligation of labeling at the pump) because this proportion is compatible with all gasoline vehicles.

Attention hot season: a limit value of steam pressure (max. 60 kPa) is set to reduce evaporation.

Diesel: SN EN 590 standard

Diesel is a mixture of hydrocarbon molecules that boils between 170°C and 370°C (higher than gasoline). Of course, it requires an engine adapted to a high cetane number. The standard authorizes a maximum of 7% volume of FAME (biofuel) in diesel (without obligation of labeling at the pump) because this proportion is compatible with all diesel vehicles.

Attention cold season: we take care of the low temperature behavior of the diesel to make possible its use in case of low temperature.

In any case, manufacturers are moving in a more environmentally friendly direction, because today's engines (gasoline and diesel) are more fuel-efficient and equipped with an effective exhaust gas
treatment system. The vehicles that are now on the market are not marketable in countries where the fuels are not subject to quality standards (they are simply not compatible!).

Biofuels and the future

Biofuels contribute to lower CO2 emissions. Biofuels (plant origin) produce much less greenhouse gases than fossil fuels: up to 90%! But to date, they represent only 2% of fuel sales.

Moreover, priority is given to the diversification of raw materials with the development of research into so-called "second generation" biofuels (agricultural residues, dedicated crops).

According to Biofuels and the KliK Foundation, the "biofuels" program aims to avoid 2,650,000 tons of CO₂ between 2014 and 2020*.

The European directive 2009/30/EC, known as the "fuel quality" directive, sets a reduction target:

  • of greenhouse gas emissions produced over the entire fuel lifecycle
  • of energy used for transport by 10% in 2020 (including 6% for fuels).

Thus, only biofuels that meet the requirements of sustainable development will be taken into account to assess compliance with these objectives and receive financial assistance for their consumption. In the meantime, if you wish to contribute to limiting your impact on the environment, discover some eco-driving gestures in our White Paper on the fuel card.


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Nelly - Editor-in-Chief

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