GHG quota – What is the greenhouse gas reduction quota and how can operators of charging stations benefit from it?

With a new regulation (38th BImSchV/Federal Emission Control Regulation) coming into force in January 2022, GHG quotas have become directly relevant for eCar drivers. But how exactly does the new regulation work?

In order to achieve the climate policy goals, the energy transition must be advanced and CO2 emissions must be greatly reduced. However, greenhouse gas emissions in the transport sector have hardly decreased in the last 20 years compared to other sectors. In order to change this, the bill for the advancement of the greenhouse gas reduction quota, GHG quota for short, was already presented in May 2021. It is considered the successor to the biofuel quota that has been in place since 2007. In 2015, the transition to the greenhouse gas reduction quota took place, which initially obliged petroleum companies to reduce their emissions by three percent by introducing lower-CO2 types of energy on the market. In 2019, the reduction to be achieved rose to four percent, followed by six percent in 2020 and seven percent for the compliance year 2022. The quota will rise steadily in the coming years, up to 25 per cent in 2030.


The GHG quota is intended to create incentives to reduce CO2 emissions in transport.

Essentially, the legislation is pursuing three approaches to reduce CO2 emissions in the transport sector:

  1. Reducing traffic volume
  2. Shifting traffic volume to lower-emission means of transport
  3. Switching to alternative, climate-friendly forms of propulsion.

The latter is to be stimulated by the introduction of GHG quotas, according to the principle that whoever produces CO2 in traffic must pay for it, those who reduce CO2 emissions profit. Oil companies pass on the resulting additional costs to fossil fuels, and the cost of petrol and diesel rises accordingly. At the same time, the GHG quota opens up new revenue potential for clean drive concepts such as electromobility. This creates an additional incentive for drivers and fleet operators to switch to low-CO2 electromobility, and to profit from it.

Drivers of electric vehicles thus actively help to reduce climate-damaging greenhouse gas emissions. All they have to do is apply to the Federal Environment Agency for the flat-rate CO2 emissions that are then offered for sale to the petroleum companies that are obliged to reduce them. The money is paid directly to the eCar drivers. The fears of a modern form of selling indulgences are unfounded. All resulting GHG quotas are sold to the oil companies. If drivers do not take action themselves, the quotas are sold by the state to the oil industry.


How can operators of charging infrastructure profit from GHG quotas?

Operators of public charging stations have been “owners” of the GHG quota since 1 January 2022 and can thus sell it on. Since charging station operators bring emission-free fuel into circulation, they can have the saved CO2 emissions credited to them in the form of GHG quotas and subsequently sell them to the oil companies that are subject to the quota. In order to minimise the effort and transaction costs involved in trading GHG quotas, trading with the petroleum companies is carried out in pooled form by quota traders. In this way, companies with charging infrastructure can benefit from electromobility in a simple way and secure additional revenues.

The quota traders offer fixed but also variable premiums for the transfer of quotas. Charging station operators also provide the value of the converted kilowatt hours. For eCar drivers, it is sufficient to own an electric vehicle. Electricity consumption does not have to be specified due to a flat-rate charging price.




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