Sweden Wants To Force Airlines To Use Biofuels To Cut Emissions

Sweden is considering a new mandate that would force airlines to use biofuels to cut emissions. Reportedly, Sweden’s average aviation emissions are as much as five times higher than the worldwide average.

What are the details?

According to The Local Sweden, Maria Wetterstand, the former leader of Sweden’s Green Party, was asked to investigate “measures to promote biofuels in flights.” Her report to the Swedish government is due on Monday.

Scandinavian Airlines Aircraft
SAS is the flag carrier of Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. Photo: Scandinavian Airlines.

New government bills in Sweden frequently start out with an investigation. Once the investigation has been completed, the government decides if it is a good idea to move forward with a government bill. The government bill, in turn, eventually goes before parliament. If it is approved, it becomes a law.

Maria Wetterstrand told the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter that, if approved, the new law could go into effect in 2021. At this time, however, only one percent of biofuel would be required. Nonetheless, in 2025, the law would become stricter. Finally, by 2030, emissions could be reduced by as much as 30 percent.

Powered by Biofuel
Alaska Airlines has already completed several biofuel flights. The airline was the first domestic airline in the United States to fly scheduled flights using biofuel. Photo: Alaska Airlines.

Just to be clear, under the proposed Swedish mandate, we are not actually going to see aircraft fueled by biofuels only. The biofuels are going to be blended with regular aviation fuel.

Currently, biofuels are not readily available. As a result, the requirements proposed by Wetterstrand are very lenient in the beginning but get stricter as more biofuels become available. Wetterstrand said that “[they] don’t want to set demands [they] cannot live up to.”

What will this mean to travelers?

Biofuels are expected to be more expensive than the fuel currently used. Accordingly, the price of flights will go up, but only slightly. Initially, the cost of a flight in Europe would only increase by about $2 per flight. Nevertheless, by 2030, the implementation of the biofuel requirement could add as much as $27 to the price of a ticket for a long-haul flight.

What will this mean to airlines flying to Sweden?

If the new requirement indeed does go into effect, airlines flying to Sweden will have to refuel with the carbon-neutral biofuels. However, this is only the case, if they choose to refuel in Sweden. Maria Wetterstand has already acknowledged that some airlines might choose to take more fuel outside of Sweden to avoid refueling in the country. Unfortunately, this would actually lead to an increase in emissions.

Stockholm Arlanda Airport
Stockholm Arlanda Airport is the largest airport in Sweden. Numerous international airlines serve the airport. Photo: Wikimedia.

Consequently, it will be very important to get everybody on board with Sweden’s biofuel requirement.

How do you feel about requiring airlines to use biofuels to cut emissions?