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European emission standards define the acceptable limits for exhaust emissions of new vehicles sold in the European Union and EEA member states. The emission standards are defined in a series of European Union directives staging the progressive introduction of increasingly stringent standards.

Background

In the European Union, emissions of nitrogen oxides (NO
x
), total hydrocarbon (THC), non-methane hydrocarbons (NMHC), carbon monoxide (CO) and particulate matter (PM) are regulated for most vehicle types, including cars, trucks (lorries), locomotives, tractors and similar machinery, barges, but excluding seagoing ships and aeroplanes. For each vehicle type, different standards apply. Compliance is determined by running the engine at a standardised test cycle. Non-compliant vehicles cannot be sold in the EU, but new standards do not apply to vehicles already on the roads. No use of specific technologies is mandated to meet the standards, though available technology is considered when setting the standards. New models introduced must meet current or planned standards, but minor lifecycle model revisions may continue to be offered with pre-compliant engines.

Along with Emissions standards the European Union has also mandated a number of computer on-board diagnostics for the purposes of increasing safety for drivers. These standards are used in relation to the emissions standards.

In the early 2000s, Australia began harmonising Australian Design Rule certification for new motor vehicle emissions with Euro categories. Euro III was introduced on 1 January 2006 and is progressively being introduced to align with European introduction dates.

Toxic emission: stages and legal framework

The stages are typically referred to as Euro 1, Euro 2, Euro 3, Euro 4, Euro 5 and Euro 6 for Light Duty Vehicle standards.

The legal framework consists in a series of directives, each amendments to the 1970 Directive 70/220/EEC.[1] The following is a summary list of the standards, when they come into force, what they apply to, and which EU directives provide the definition of the standard.

  • Euro 1 (1992):
    • For passenger cars—91/441/EEC.[2]
    • Also for passenger cars and light lorries—93/59/EEC.
  • Euro 2 (1996) for passenger cars—94/12/EC (& 96/69/EC)
    • For motorcycle—2002/51/EC (row A)[3]—2006/120/EC
  • Euro 3 (2000) for any vehicle—98/69/EC[4]
    • For motorcycle—2002/51/EC (row B)[3]—2006/120/EC
  • Euro 4 (2005) for any vehicle—98/69/EC (& 2002/80/EC)
  • Euro 5 (2009) for light passenger and commercial vehicles—715/2007/EC[5]
  • Euro 6 (2014) for light passenger and commercial vehicles—459/2012/EC[6] and 2016/646/EU[7]

These limits supersede the original directive on emission limits 70/220/EEC.

The classifications for vehicle category are defined by:[8]

  • Commission Directive 2001/116/EC of 20 December 2001, adapting to technical progress Council Directive 70/156/EEC on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to the type-approval of motor vehicles and their trailers[9][10]
  • Directive 2002/24/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 March 2002 relating to the type-approval of two or three-wheeled motor vehicles and repealing Council Directive 92/61/EEC

Emission standards for passenger cars

Emission standards for passenger cars and light commercial vehicles are summarised in the following tables. Since the Euro 2 stage, EU regulations introduce different emission limits for diesel and petrol vehicles. Diesels have more stringent CO standards but are allowed higher NO
x
emissions. Petrol-powered vehicles are exempted from particulate matter (PM) standards through to the Euro 4 stage, but vehicles with direct injection engines are subject to a limit of 0.0045 g/km for Euro 5 and Euro 6. A particulate number standard (P) or (PN) has been introduced in 2011 with Euro 5b for diesel engines and in 2014 with Euro 6 for petrol engines.[11][12][13]

From a technical perspective, European emissions standards do not reflect everyday usage of the vehicle as manufacturers are allowed to lighten the vehicle by removing the back seats, improve aerodynamics by taping over grilles and door handles or reduce the load on the generator by switching off the headlights, the passenger compartment fan or simply disconnecting the alternator which charges the battery.[14]

European emission standards for passenger cars (Category M)*, g/km

In the European Union, emissions of nitrogen oxides (NO
x
), total hydrocarbon (THC), non-methane hydrocarbons (NMHC), carbon monoxide (CO) and particulate matter (PM) are regulated for most vehicle types, including cars, trucks (lorries), locomotives, tractors and similar machinery, barges, but excluding seagoing ships and aeroplanes. For each vehicle type, different standards apply. Compliance is determined by running the engine at a standardised test cycle. Non-compliant vehicles cannot be sold in the EU, but new standards do not apply to vehicles already on the roads. No use of specific technologies is mandated to meet the standards, though available technology is considered when setting the standards. New models introduced must meet current or planned standards, but minor lifecycle model revisions may continue to be offered with pre-compliant engines.

Along with Emissions standards the European Union has also mandated a number of computer on-board diagnostics for the purposes of increasing safety for drivers. These standards are used in relation to the emissions standards.

In the early 2000s, Australia began harmonising Australian Design Rule certification for new motor vehicle emissions with Euro categories. Euro III was introduced on 1 January 2006 and is progressively being introduced to align with European introduction dates.

Toxic emission: stages and legal framework

The stages are typically referred to as Euro 1, Euro 2, Euro 3, Euro 4, Euro 5 and Euro 6 for Light Duty Vehicle standards.

The legal framework consists in a series of directives, each amendments to the 1970 Directive 70/220/EEC.[1] The following is a summary list of the standards, when they come into force, what they apply to, and which EU directives provide the definition of the standard.

  • Euro 1 (1992):
    • For passenger cars—91/441/EEC.[2]
    • Also for passenger cars and light lorries—93/59/EEC.
  • Euro 2 (1996) for passenger cars—94/12/EC (& 96/69/EC)
    • For motorcycle—2002/51/EC (row A)[3]—2006/120/EC
  • Euro 3 (2000) for any vehicle—98/69/EC[4]
    • For motorcycle—2002/51/EC (row B)[3]—2006/120/EC
  • Euro 4 (2005) for any vehicle—98/69/EC (& 2002/80/EC)
  • Euro 5 (2009) for light passenger and commercial vehicles—715/2007/EC[5]
  • Euro 6 (2014) for light passenger and commercial vehicles—459/2012/EC[6] and 2016/646/EU[7]

These limits supersede the original directive on emission limits 70/220/EEC.

The classifications for vehicle category are defined by:[8]

  • Commission Directive 2001/116/EC of 20 December 2001, adapting to technical progress Council Directive 70/156/EEC on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to the type-approval of motor vehicles and their trailers[9][10]
  • Directive 2002/24/EC of the Eur

    Along with Emissions standards the European Union has also mandated a number of computer on-board diagnostics for the purposes of increasing safety for drivers. These standards are used in relation to the emissions standards.

    In the early 2000s, Australia began harmonising Australian Design Rule certification for new motor vehicle emissions with Euro categories. Euro III was introduced on 1 January 2006 and is progressively being introduced to align with European introduction dates.

    The stages are typically referred to as Euro 1, Euro 2, Euro 3, Euro 4, Euro 5 and Euro 6 for Light Duty Vehicle standards.

    The legal framework consists in a series of directives, each amendments to the 1970 Directive 70/220/EEC.[1] The following is a summary list of the standards, when they come into force, what they apply to, and which EU directives provide the definition of the standard.

    • Euro 1 (1992):
      • For passenger cars—91/441/EEC.[2]
      • Also for passenger cars and light lorries—93/59/EEC.
    • Euro 2 (199

      The legal framework consists in a series of directives, each amendments to the 1970 Directive 70/220/EEC.[1] The following is a summary list of the standards, when they come into force, what they apply to, and which EU directives provide the definition of the standard.

      These limits supersede the original directive on emission limits 70/220/EEC.

      The classifications for vehicle category are defined by:[8]

      • Commission Directive 2001/116/EC of 20 December 2001, adapting to technical progress Council Directive 70/156/EEC on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to the type-approval of motor vehicles and their trailers[9][10]
      • Directive 2002/24/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 March 2002 relating to the type-approval of two or three-wheeled motor vehicles and repealing Council Directive 92/61/EEC

      Emission standards for passenger cars

Tier Date (Type Approval) Date (First Registration) CO THC VOC NO
x
Euro norm emissions for category N3, EDC, (2000 and up)
Standard Date CO (g/kWh) NO
x
(g/kWh)
HC (g/kWh) PM (g/kWh)
Euro 0 1988–92 12.3 15.8 2.6 NA
Euro I 1992–95 4.9 9.0 1.23 0.40
Euro II 1995–99 4.0 7.0 1.1 0.15
Euro III 1999–2005 2.1 5.0 0.66 0.1
Euro IV 2005–08 1.5 3.5 0.46 0.02
Euro V 2008–12 1.5 2.0 0.46 0.02
Euro norm emissions for (older) ECE R49 cycle
Standard Date CO (g/kWh) NO
x
(g/kWh)
HC (g/kWh) PM (g/kWh)
Euro 0 1988–92 11.2 14.4 2.4 NA
Euro I 1992–95 4.5 8.0 1.1 0.36
Euro II 1995–99 4.0 7.0 1.1 0.15

Enhanced environmentally friendly vehicle

Enhanced environmentally friendly vehicle or EEV is a term used in the European emission standards for the definition of a "clean vehicle" > 3.5 tonne in the category M2 and M3. The standard lies between the levels of Euro V and Euro VI.

Euro II October 1995 4.0 1.1 7.0 0.25 October 1997 4.0 1.1 7.0 0.15 Euro III October 1999 EEVs only <

ESC & ELR

1.5 0.25 2.0 0.02 0.15 October 2000 2.1 0.66 5.0 0.10
0.13* 0.8 Euro IV October 2005 1.5 0.46 3.5 0.02 0.5 Euro V October 2008 1.5 0.46 2.0 0.02 0.5 Euro VI 31 December

EEV is "Enhanced environmentally friendly vehicle".

Emission standards for large goods vehicles

Euro norm emissions for category N3, EDC, (2000 and up)
Standard Date CO (g/kWh) NO
x
(g/kWh)
HC (g/kWh) PM (g/kWh)
Euro 0 1988–92 12.3 15.8 2.6 NA
Euro I 1992–95 4.9 9.0 1.23 0.40
Euro II 1995–99 4.0 7.0 1.1 0.15
Euro III 1999–2005 2.1 5.0 0.66 0.1
Euro IV 2005–08 1.5 3.5 Enhanced environmentally friendly vehicle or EEV is a term used in the European emission standards for the definition of a "clean vehicle" > 3.5 tonne in the category M2 and M3. The standard lies between the levels of Euro V and Euro VI.

Emission standards for non-road mobile machinery

The term non-road mobile machinery (NRMM) is a term used in the European emission standards to control emissions of engines that are not used primarily on public roadways. This definition includes off-road vehicles as well as railway vehicles.

European standards for non-road diesel engines harmonize with the US EPA standards, and comprise gradually stringent tiers known as Stage I–V standards. The Stage I/II was part of the 1997 directive (Directive 97/68/EC). It was implemented in two stages with Stage I implemented in 1999 and Stage II implemented between 2001 and 2004. In 2004, the European Parliament adopted Stage III/IV standards. The Stage III standards were further divided into Stage III A and III B were phased in between 2006 and 2013. Stage IV standards are enforced from 2014. Stage V standards are phased-in from 2018 with full enforcement from 2021.

As of 1 January 2015, EU Member States have to ensure that ships in the Baltic, the North Sea and the English Channel are using fuels with a sulphur content of no more than 0.10%. Higher sulphur contents are still possible, but only if the appropriate exhaust cleaning systems are in place.[16]

Emission test cycle