Fleet Cards Europe

News| 09 September 2022
Europe facing yet another crisis: haulage in Europe impossible without AdBlue

Fleet Cards Europe (FCE), representing independent European fleet card issuers, would like to draw attention to the concerning decrease of supply of Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF), most commonly known as AdBlue, in Europe. DEF is an essential product which reduces nitrogen oxide emissions from modern vans and trucks which run on Euro 6 engines; vehicles requiring AdBlue cannot function without it. In Germany, for example, an estimated 90% of trucks on the motorways run on engines that require AdBlue to function[1].

In the last few weeks, due to high natural gas prices and the low supply of ammonia, producers in several European countries have halted production with some even stopping it altogether. Ad Blue is produced from ammonia (NH3) – a compound of nitrogen and hydrogen – and carbon dioxide (CO2); it is the hydrogen required to produce ammonia that is almost exclusively made by using natural gas.

The economic impact of not having AdBlue available could be catastrophic, as the fleets of many enterprises transporting goods in Europe rely on this product to operate and, as a result, supply chains may be seriously disrupted. If this problem persists, the internal market – which is highly reliant on haulage – will face an unprecedented challenge as AdBlue is disappearing from the market without any available substitute.

The European haulage industry is already facing major challenges: high fuel prices and a severe shortage of trained personnel. Indeed, in 2021 an estimated 425,000 truck driver positions (10% of the total) remained unfilled across the EU[2]. A lack of DEF will compound the difficulties which the European commercial road transport sector is already grappling with.

We call on governments in Europe to pay close attention to the supply of AdBlue and act decisively where necessary, ensuring there will be sufficient supplies to prevent the European transport sector from grinding to a halt, which would hinder the movement of goods within the internal market and have major negative economic repercussions.


[1] Source: Gaskrise: Logistikbranche warnt vor AdBlue-Knappheit, Heise Online, 7 September 2022, <https://www.heise.de/news/Gaskrise-Logistikbranche-warnt-vor-AdBlue-Knappheit-7256601.html>.

[2] Source: One in ten European truck drivers missing as shortage escalates, IRU, 2 September 2022, <https://www.iru.org/news-resources/newsroom/one-ten-european-truck-drivers-missing-shortage-escalates>.

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