Energia: ‘diesel still accounts for 70% of Belgian road transport’

With 70% of total consumption, diesel remains Belgium’s main fuel for road transport. This is shown by figures from Energia, the voice tube of the country’s petroleum sector. Nevertheless, it remains striking that fuel continues to make up most of what is refueled while fewer and fewer new diesel cars are being bought.

In general, fuel consumption in Belgium was down last year. The transport sector (58%) and the petrochemical industry (42%) used it most. Black gold brought in 5,14 billion euros in revenue for the state via excise duties, or 6,22 billion with VAT included.

Number of diesel cars decreasing

The share of diesel goes on a downward trend: in 2010, it was 83%; in 2021, it would be 73% of consumption, passenger cars, and trucks combined. Figures from the automobile federation Febiac showed earlier that four in ten new cars registered in Belgium were hybrid or fully electric in the first three months of this year. Diesel engines accounted for only 10% of new cars in the first quarter.

For every liter of gasoline consumed, 2 269 grams of CO2 is released; for every liter of diesel, it is 2 606 grams, and with LPG, it is 1 610 grams.

The latest generation diesel engines (Euro 6) do come equipped with an AdBlue system, an additive that reduces nitrogen oxide emissions to virtually zero. From 2031, diesel cars will be banned in the low-emission zones (LEZ) of Ghent and Antwerp.

Petroleum remains main source of energy

Petroleum, apropos, remains the main source of energy for Belgium, figures from Energia show. Petroleum-based energy products remain our primary energy consumption’s most important energy source.

They represented 37% of primary energy consumption in 2021, followed by natural gas (26%), nuclear (21%), and renewable energy sources (10%).

However, in general, the total production of refineries has further decreased in Belgium from 30,7 million tons in 2021 to 28,62 million tons in 2022. Diesel and fuel oil accounted for 45% of the annual production of Belgian refineries. Gasoline followed with 11%.

Total domestic consumption of finished petroleum products, therefore, also fell slightly, to 20,49 million tons from 21,37 million tons last year.

Diesel accounted for 44% of total domestic consumption, followed by naphtha and LPG (31%), which are the raw material for the petrochemical industry. Gasoline (11%) takes third place.

Russian oil

Crude oil imports also fell slightly in 2022. The oil imported for processing in Belgian refineries came mainly from Europe (28%), Russia (22%), and the Middle East. Note: the embargo only came into effect at the end of the year, but the Russian share was already lower than in 2021.

The industry remains the largest energy consumer in Belgium, with a 26% share, followed by transportation (21%) and households (also 21%). Overall, Belgium emitted 24% less CO2 emissions in 2000-2021, but globally there was a significant increase of 46%.


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