Mobility Basic Figures
Source: EU energy and transport in figures - Statistical pocketbook, 2010
According to the Iceland statistical bureau in 2006 the road transport accounts for about 21% of the total greenhouse gas emissions of the country. The average age of cars is 10.2 years which is among the highest in Europe. There are about 750 cars per 1,000 inhabitancies. Further there is a considerable share of high fuel consuming VANs, SUVs and 4-wheel-drive cars. Furthermore there is a high number of special vehicles consuming fossil fuel, i.e. snowmobiles or bigfoot-chassis. The share of vehicles with gasoline engine is about 82% whereas the share of vehicles with diesel engine is less than 18%. There is an increasing number of hybrid and hydrogen vehicles but there are no detailed figures available.
A new survey showing how well nations are meeting their environmental policy sees Iceland at the top. Iceland, which received a score of 93.5 out of 100, earned high marks for environmental public health, controlling greenhouse gas emissions and reforestation efforts.
The Government of Iceland has set forward a very strong energy policy which aims to increase the use of renewable energy as much as possible. Iceland is in the unique situation to have an abundant source of renewable energy both hydro and geothermal. Currently 72% of all energy usage in Iceland is based on renewable energy and if hydrogen or electricity can be used instead of fossil fuels in Iceland, the country can become self sufficient with energy totally based on renewable sources. Latest 2035 it is expected that almost all Iceland's vehicles could be hydrogen-fuelled although this depends on the arrival of affordable models.
The first step towards investigating the potential of hydrogen as a practical sustainable energy carrier was taken on March 1, 2001 with the launch of the EU-funded ECTOS-project. Following two years of preparation, the world’s first hydrogen refueling station located on the site of a conventional filling station and open to the general public was formally opened on April 24, 2003. Six months later, three hydrogen buses arrived in Reykjavík and were operated as part of the city’s public transport system until the end of 2006. The second step started in march 2007: boats and private cars. The project was very successful and the original time frame of two years in operation was extended to 3 years as the ECTOS team became partner in the follow up project of CUTE - the so-called HyFLEET:CUTE. With the hydrogen filling station's expansion in 2009 and the purchase of 10 especially adapted Toyota Priuses hydrogen road mobility was opened for private use. The cars, which charge their batteries with internal combustion engines that burn hydrogen instead of petrol, joined a Daimler Chrysler fuel-cell car imported in mid-2007. Seven of them went to Icelandic companies for being tested in their corporate fleets while three went to the rental company Hertz that now offers hydrogen-fuelled rentals. During the UN Copenhagen Clima Conference in December 2009 additional 10 new Ford Focus FCV fuel-cell vehicles were put in operation. The Ford hydrogen cars are leased for six months at a time to community organisations and energy companies.
During the last years the Iceland Government also undertook a strong initiative to promote electro mobility. With the ultra-cheap electricity in Island (as low as 2.5 cents per kilowatt/hour) it was estimated that electro car refuelling would cost between 10-20% of a conventional gasoline car. Electric cars with strategically located charging stations make a lot of sense for Iceland, where 75% of the country’s residents live within 37 miles of the capital city. It was calculated that even the country’s 840-mile-long ring road could theoretically be covered with just 14 fast-charging stations. The replacement of the current car fleet with electricity vehicles requires about 50 megawatts of electric power generation which is not a great challenge for Iceland. The energy company Northern Lights Energy currently develops a nationwide network of fast charging stations ready in 2012. In the same time the company develops a fleet management system for large organisations and individuals which has started to be commercialised in 2010 under the brand “Skyndibílar”. It was claimed that the overall fleet will be up to 1,200 vehicles.
Iceland has already empowered its citizens to drive methane-burning flex-fuel cars powered by landfill gas.
The geoinformation system www.metanoauto.com/modules.php lists one refuelling station for autogas in Iceland located in Reykjavik.
The geo-information system www.netinform.net/H2/H2Stations/ lists 2 hydrogen refuelling stations in Iceland both located in Reykjavik (the SMART H2 Boat Hydrogen Refuelling Station for refuelling the first hydrogen boat “Elding” and the Shell Hydrogen Refueling Station to refuel 3 DaimlerChrysler FC buses that run on Reykjavik's streets on a commercial basis by Straeto bs, the local bus company. The station was part of the EC funded ECTOS and HyFleet:CUTE projects).
There are several individual recharging plugs in the city centre of Reykjavik placed to free parking slots. There is currently developed a national wide network of fast charging stations which is planned to start operation during 2012.
In Iceland there is an excise duty on motor vehicles laid down in 331/2000 REGULATION (to be paid on all imports and domestic manufactured cars) which is calculated with reference to the engine capacity (0-2,000 cc <= 30% of the vehicle list price before tax; cc > 2000 = 45% of the vehicle list price before tax). Vehicles solely powered by electricity or hydrogen are exempt from excise taxes. For fall 2010 it is planned to change the excise tax system toward a charging of cars emission levels towards reducing carbon dioxide emissions (a so-called Finance Working Group had proposed changes in excise duties on vehicles and fuel since 2008).
The first registration or re-registration of vehicles is only possible if the vehicles fulfil certain standards. For each category of vehicles (cars, vans, minibuses, light- and heavy vehicles, etc.) there are defined minimum criteria for various technical aspects i.e. for the vehicle emission: EURO 4 standard fulfilment is obligatory. The registration fee itself does not include any environmental extra incentives or exemptions for clean vehicles.
Hydrogen cars are exempt from the 24.5% value-added tax in the first three years.
Electric cars can park free in Reykjavik.
The public funded Orkuseturs project role is to promote public awareness and business about efficient energy use and potential for energy savings. The Orkuseturs project is partly funded by the European Union (EU) within the Intelligent Energy - Europe (IEE) framework. The project includes also information on clean vehicles. Several online calculators for total car costs, fuel costs and emission costs are available.
Within the Icelandic Law on Public Procurement (No. 2007/84) there are a number of articles which define in detail the application of environmental criteria and standards within the process of tendering goods and services (i.e. Article 40b: Technical specifications; Article 43: Conditions related to the Agreement; Article 45. Criteria for selecting a buyer offer; Article 52: Environmental Standards).
The City of Reykjavik Administration works as central procurement organisation for the entire country and all institutions. Building on the outcomes of the EcoProcura 2009 conference, Reykjavik has become the newest participant of ICLEI's Procura+ Sustainable Procurement Campaign. As the host of EcoProcura 2009, Reykjavik set green public procurement (GPP) as a city priority and has followed through with various practical steps and money-saving initiatives. Reykjavik collaborates closely with the national government and is now using GPP to handle severe budget cuts in recent years owe to financial crisis. During the process of centralising procurement a checklist for procurment officers was developed. An assessment of products and services currently purchased by the city revealed the huge saving potential of buying recycled paper for its offices, reorganising and downsizing its vehicle fleet and using environmentally-friendly cleaning products.
webpage of Iceland administration for road traffic
webpage of the Iceland statistical bureau with vehicle statistics
webpage of Icelandic New Energy which promotes using hydrogen as a fuel in the transportation sector in Iceland
webpage for Northern Lights Energy with information on electro mobility in Island
webpage of Orkusetur, including a car energy cost/emission