The share of electric cars is rising but the automotive landscape continues to be dominated by vehicles running on liquid fuel which will remain on the roads for a long time to come. A recent study suggests that the real solution for the sustainable decarbonisation of the vehicle fleet could actually be found in hybrid cars, as long as they get sustainable biofuels at the pump.    

According to the European Renewable Ethanol Association (ePURE), European renewable ethanol saves on average 78% greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions compared to fossil fuels. When used in hybrid vehicles, ethanol and other biofuels can even help achieve lower GHG emissions than battery vehicles, especially in countries where grid power is not too green.

Just recently, scientists at Brazil’s University of Campinas reached the conclusion that hybrid vehicles with biofuels have lower GHG emissions than battery electric vehicles (EVs) in both Europe and Brazil, even as Brazil has a cleaner electricity mix. The study conducted a life cycle assessment (LCA) of the emissions of traditional internal combustion engine vehicles, hybrid vehicles – both non-plug-in and plug-in, and battery electric vehicles.

According to the latest data from the European automobile industry association, the market share of battery electric cars in new sales was 14.2% in October 2023, compared to 12% a year ago.