Many Europeans are waiting for low carbon liquid fuels to make their heating more climate friendly

Several surveys on heating issues conducted by Eurofuel members showed a strong consensus on one point in particular: heating owners want to make their heating more climate-friendly, and they want renewable liquid fuels to enable them to do so.

A number of Eurofuel members regularly conduct consumer surveys in their countries, including specific questions about heating replacement and renewable energies. The questions asked in the various surveys differ, and the countries also differ in terms of climate and heating energy used, but the surveys all give a very similar picture. How this looks for the surveys of the last two years by EWO (Austria), FF3C (France), Informazout (Belgium) and OFTEC (UK) is briefly described in this summary.

Respondents universally agree that they would like to make their heating more climate-friendly and give up fossil fuels. However, most of them do not plan to replace their oil heating in the next 5 years. Practically all (96% in France, 97% in Austria) are very satisfied with their existing heating system and would like to continue using it, even though many are concerned about the increased energy prices.

However, when heating owners have to decide whether to replace or switch their heating system, the majority cite cost as the most important criterion, even before being climate friendly. In addition to the operating costs, the upfront installation costs seem to play an important role. In the UK, about 60% of the respondents stated that they could not afford more than £5000 pounds for the switch to a low carbon alternative, and in Austria, 93% of the respondents cannot or do not want to take out a loan for a heating system change.

Many heating system owners are very afraid of the planned legal bans in their countries. In Austria, 70% fear that they will be forced to switch to a system they cannot afford. Therefore, they are against being forced to switch to a certain heating system, as are almost 97% of the respondents in the UK, who would like to decide for themselves which heating system to switch to. Especially all those who cannot connect their house to a district heating network.

About two-thirds of all respondents would like to see liquid biogenic or synthetic fuels recognised as an option for climate-friendly heating in their country. For example, 75% of the respondents in Belgium would convert their heating to low carbon liquid fuels in the next three years if it were recognised and available, and if they were no more than 10% more expensive than conventional heating oil.

The message to politicians thus seems clear. People want their governments to provide better information, not to exclude the possibility of renewable liquid fuels as a green heating source, and not to disadvantage large sections of heating owners with their ill-considered laws. In rural regions in the UK, nine out of ten are convinced that their government provides them with very poor information and treats them unfairly with planned legislation. For this this situation to change, political acceptance and broad information on low carbon liquid fuels is needed, as well as a system that can ensure their availability and affordability.