Fuels for Ireland, formerly known as the Irish Petroleum Industry Association, has published a plan revealing how their members will become carbon neutral by 2050.

The organisation represents forecourt operators such as Applegreen and Circle K, home heating suppliers and other fuel providers.

The strategy, 'Powering today and tomorrow,’ sets out how fuel providers plan to reach this ambitious target, given Ireland’s current reliance on oil and other fossil fuels.

According to the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, 97% of Ireland’s transport energy needs in 2018 were met using oil-based products. 

"Fossil fuels cannot be the basis of Ireland’s long-term energy plans, or the basis of our industry’s long-term business strategy," said Kevin McPartlan, CEO of Fuels for Ireland.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Mr McPartlan said that forecourt operators will look very different in the future.

"Forecourt operators are now supporting electric vehicle charging. The total number of EV charging points has increased by 50% in the last five years and plans are in place to expand this significantly," he said.

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He also said that liquid fuels are being "progressively transformed," but said they have "minor frustrations" in relation to the pace of change.

"330,000 tonnes of carbon emissions are already prevented annually by blending zero-carbon biofuels into petrol and diesel. To accelerate this process, Fuels for Ireland is calling on the new Government to mandate the doubling of ethanol in petrol sold in Ireland as a matter of urgency," he said.

Mr McPartlan added that the current blend of petrol used in cars is made up of 5% ethanol and that doubling that would make a huge difference.

"Doubling the amount of ethanol used by switching to 10% would result in an annual reduction in CO2 emissions of 90,000 tonnes, which would be the equivalent of taking 50,000 cars off the road," he said.

Mr McPartlan described the Government's target of getting one million electric vehicles on the road by 2030 as "optimistic".

"We think a more helpful approach would be to set a target of one million zero emissions vehicles, not just electric vehicles. That can be achieved through the use of zero carbon liquid fuels," he said.

The Fuels for Ireland report also looks at home heating options for the future.

Mr McPartlan said the moment 40% of homes are currently relying on oil, which he said is not sustainable.

"To help boost efficiency and bring about emissions reductions, 20,000 boiler upgrades are carried out every year which deliver an average CO2 reductions of almost 20%. Given that 400,000 older and less efficient oil boilers are in service nationwide, large-scale reductions in emissions are possible in the coming years, and technological improvements will likely lead to significant changes in the liquid fuels mix in the coming decades," he said.

Fuels for Ireland welcomed the new coalition’s commitment to achieving major emissions reductions and energy efficiency gains over the next decade, and McPartlan he called on the Government to enter into talks with industry stakeholders to ensure that they succeed.