The recent agreement between some European political actors regarding synthetic fuels has opened new perspectives in the automotive industry, allowing the sale of internal combustion engine vehicles powered by e-fuels even after 2035. But what are the differences between synthetic fuels and biofuels? And what will happen to cars already registered?

Differences between e-fuels and bio-fuels

Biofuels come from the transformation of organic substances of plant or animal origin, while e-fuels, or synthetic fuels, are created through a chemical process that combines hydrogen and carbon dioxide. Both are suitable for internal combustion engines, but e-fuels must be produced using renewable energy to be considered eco-friendly.

However, e-fuels present some challenges, such as the need for extensive electrical infrastructure for their production and high production costs, which could influence the final price for buyers of e-fuel-powered cars.

E-fuel producers and market impact

The German group P2X Europe in Hamburg is one of the leading e-fuel producers. However, according to some industry experts, synthetic fuels could mainly be used for luxury cars like Porsche and Ferrari due to their high costs.

The role of biofuels

Biofuels are produced from agricultural raw materials such as corn, sugarcane, beet, and organic waste. Among the companies that have invested in biofuels, Eni has announced the sale of biofuels in 50 service stations with the goal of tripling the number of distributors. However, the recently reached agreement does not foresee the use of biofuels in internal combustion engines after 2035, calling these investments into question.

The future of cars already registered

The agreement reached allows the use of internal combustion engines powered by synthetic fuels even after 2035, but these new rules do not apply to cars already registered. Motorists who purchase a car before 2035 will be able to continue using it until the end of its life cycle, based on the year of registration.

It will be possible to buy and sell used gasoline or diesel cars and refuel them after 2035, but the related costs could be higher than current ones.

Impact on the Italian automotive industry

The adoption of e-fuels could negatively affect the Italian automotive industry, where the automotive sector accounts for 13% of GDP and employs 250,000 people. According to a study conducted by Uilm-Està, the ecological transition could jeopardize up to 120,000 jobs, as an electric vehicle contains far fewer components compared to an internal combustion engine vehicle. It is estimated that 40-45% of those employed in the Italian automotive sector will be affected by the transition to electric.


The agreement reached regarding synthetic fuels and their adoption in internal combustion engines after 2035 represents a significant turning point in the automotive industry. However, e-fuels present challenges in terms of infrastructure and costs, and their impact on the Italian automotive industry and the labor market could be significant.

In the meantime, motorists who own gasoline or diesel cars registered before 2035 will be able to continue using them and refueling them, albeit with potentially higher costs. Discussions on the role of biofuels in future energy policy and their impact on the environment will continue to be the subject of debate and research. The automotive industry will have to adapt to the new challenges posed by alternative fuels and environmental regulations while ensuring the sustainability and competitiveness of the sector.





Taggato con: