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Brussels, 15 July 2005

Cleaner cars: Commission consults on tighter emission limits

Reducing the emissions of new cars and light duty vehicles is the objective of a draft package, which the European Commission intends to bring forward by the end of 2005. Before finalising this so-called “Euro 5” proposal, the Commission is now inviting stakeholders to comment on the draft. The Commission proposal will significantly contribute to a further improvement of air quality in Europe. According to the Commission’s draft, particulate emissions from diesel cars would be slashed by 80% and nitrogen oxides (NOx) by 20%. The tougher standards proposed would lead to the introduction of particulate filters for diesel cars. For petrol cars, the Commission proposes to cut NOx emissions and hydrocarbons by 25%. The new Euro 5 limits could enter into force by mid 2008 at the earliest. The final proposal may be amended to reflect the feedback received in the consultation.

Commission Vice-President Günter Verheugen said: “Our ideas are ambitious, but realistic. The new emission limits will open the way to cleaner cars. This is good for the health of our citizens and the environment. Industry gets a clear perspective and the time to prepare to produce clean, high quality cars without endangering its competitiveness. This is the only road to future success. It is now up to stakeholders to have their say.”

The draft Euro 5 proposal lays down common EU rules on the construction of motor vehicles with regard to their emissions of atmospheric pollutants, both particulates and nitrogen oxides, particularly from diesel cars.

The main elements of the consultation:

  • An 80% reduction in particulate matter (PM) emissions from diesel cars to 5mg/km, relative to the limit of 25 mg/km, which has become mandatory for new type approved vehicles from January 2005 under the “Euro 4” emissions standards.
  • A 20% reduction in nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions from diesel cars
  • A 25% reduction in emissions of both NOx and hydrocarbons (HC) from petrol cars
  • Introduction of a particulate emission limit for petrol cars using lean-burn direct injection technology
  • Extension of the durability period over which manufacturers must confirm the operation of emission control devices such as catalytic converters and particulate traps
  • Passenger vehicles with a mass of over 2500kg, such as SUVs, can no longer use the less ambitious emission standards for light commercial vehicles
  • An implementation date of 18 months after the entry into force of the regulation for new type approvals and 36 months for all types

Particulate matter and NOx emission limits for diesel cars

Particulate Matter (mg/km)
NOx (mg/km)
Euro 3 (2000 -31.12.2004)
Euro 4 (from 1.1.2005)
Euro 5 draft proposal

Hydrocarbon and NOx emission limits for petrol cars

HC (mg/km)
NOx (mg/km)
Euro 3 (2000 -2005)
Euro 4 (from 2005)
Euro 5 draft proposal

The draft proposal and a description of the consultation can be found at:

Interested stakeholders are invited to email their comments over the next eight weeks to the following address:

[Graphic in PDF & Word format]

[Graphic in PDF & Word format]

[Graphic in PDF & Word format]

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