IATE Term of the Week: Fuel


The European Commission has introduced a uniform protocol of terminology and labelling for motor fuels throughout the EU.
The new labels will become a requirement in the 28 member states of the European Union, the EEA countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) and in Macedonia, Serbia, Switzerland and Turkey. New vehicles will also need to have the labelling. Changes are ongoing, but in some oil networks, the requirement of the European standard has already been implemented. Nevertheless, it is predicted that there will be an adaptation period allowed for a certain period in time in which the current denominations will coexist with the new ones.

According to a European standard published in October, all petrol stations must be equipped with a single fuel label by mid-October 2018.

The new labelling system may seem complicated at first glance, but it is actually very simple. The symbols for the labelling of liquid and gaseous fuels across the European Union aim to make life easier for drivers when new fuels appear on the market, especially when travelling abroad, when it may not be as easy to decipher which fuel is the best to choose. The new labelling will aide consumers, as they will be able to see which shape to choose (circle, square or rhombus) and at acronyms before refuelling.

The new terminology is as follows:

Square: Diesel.
– B: Biodiesel.
– B7: The car accepts diesel with 7% biodiesel.
– B10: The car accepts diesel with 10% biodiesel.
– B10: The car accepts diesel with 20% biodiesel.
– B10: The car accepts diesel with 30% biodiesel.
– B10: The car accepts diesel with 100% biodiesel.
– XTL: The car accepts paraffinic diesel.

Circle: Petrol.
– E: Ethanol.
– E5: The car accepts gasoline with 5% ethanol.
– E10: The car accepts petrol with 10% ethanol.
– E85: The car accepts petrol with 85% ethanol.

Rhombus: Gases.
– H2: Hydrogen.
– CNG: Compressed Natural Gas.
– LPG: Liquefied Petroleum Gas.
– LNG: Liquefied Natural Gas.

This change in terminology is also intended to promote the use of renewable energy sources. The aim is to unify the different types of fuel used in the different countries, with the medium and long-term objective of encouraging the abandonment of fossil fuels for less polluting ones.

Interested in more IATE Term of the Week articles? They are available here.

– COMMUNICATION FROM THE COMMISSION TO THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT, THE COUNCIL, THE EUROPEAN ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMITTEE AND THE COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS Towards the broadest use of alternative fuels – an Action Plan on Alternative Fuels Infrastructure under Article 10(6) of Directive 2014/94/EU, including the assessment of national policy frameworks under Article 10(2) of Directive 2014/94/EU ; COM/2017/0652 final [online here] – Directive 2014/94/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 October 2014 on the deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure Text with EEA relevance [online here] – European Commission, Press Release Database. “New EU fuel marking: questions and answers”. 16/10/2018. http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-18-6102_en.htm
– European Commission, Press Release Database. “EU fuel labelling: clearer information for consumers and operators”. 16/10/2018. http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-18-6101_en.htm
– European Committee for Standarization. “European Labels”. https://www.cen.eu/work/products/Labels/Pages/default.aspx
– Fuel Identifiers. “Fuel labelling for road vehicles”. http://www.fuel-identifiers.eu/

Written by Marta Guillén Martínez – Communication Trainee at the Terminology Coordination Unit of the European Parliament (Luxembourg). She holds a Degree in Advertising and Public Relations from the University of Alicante, Spain and she did her European Voluntary Service on communication and european youth mobility in Milan, Italy. She speaks Spanish, Catalan, English and Italian.