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Transport energy consumption declined last year, less liquid biofuel sold

Use of biofuel – part of a key dispute in the ongoing government formation talks – declined last year.

Detail of a petrol filling station in Nuorgam, Finnish Lapland, showing three fuelling pistols marked D, 98E and 95E.
Under Finnish law, 30 percent of all transport fuels must be biofuels by 2030. Image: Vesa Toppari / Yle
Yle News

Energy consumption for domestic transport decreased last year in Finland. The total consumption fell back to the same level as during the first pandemic year, 2020, when it showed a historic seven-percent plunge, according to Statistics Finland.

Transport energy consumption declined by four percent last year compared to 2021, when the economy began recovering from the pandemic. Last year's recovery in domestic air transport showed up in a sharp 37-percent rise in consumption of jet fuel.

Last year's slump in consumption was driven in large part by the energy crisis triggered by the Russian attack on Ukraine and the resulting spike in fuel prices. Last year, the price of diesel climbed by about 40 percent while petrol prices went up by 25 percent.

Liquid fuels used for road transport had the biggest impact on the decline. The combined consumption of petrol and diesel for road vehicles decreased by five percent from the year before. Meanwhile consumption of alternative energy sources in road transport rose by 47 percent – but remained marginal.

In 2022, electricity was only the energy source for three percent of transport, with biogas negligible at 0.7 percent.

Biofuel a hot-button issue in cabinet talks

The share of liquid biofuels meanwhile decreased slightly due to the reduction of the distribution obligation. That refers to the amount of biofuel that must be mixed into all transport fuels.

Under a 2007 law, 30 percent of all transport fuels must be biofuels by 2030. The law stipulates that the distribution obligation should rise gradually each year to reach 30 percent by 2029, a year ahead of an EU target.

An EU directive requires that renewable energy's share of transport energy consumption must be raised to 14 percent by 2030.

The two main parties aiming to form the next Finnish government, the National Coalition Party and the Finns Party, have both called for that schedule to be relaxed, citing the rising cost to motorists with combustion-engine cars.

One of the smaller parties in the negotiations, the Swedish People's Party, has balked at that, arguing that raising the share of biofuel is crucial for reducing Finland's greenhouse gas emissions and to meet its EU commitments.

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