What are the European Emission Standards?

European emission standards define the acceptable limits for exhaust emissions of new vehicles sold in the EU. Whilst we remain in the EU, we are obliged to ensure our vehicles have engines that meet environmental standards in order to shrink atmospheric pollutants.

Currently all cars old in the UK are tested before going on sale under the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) procedure. This test measures emissions under controlled conditions and are witnessed by government agencies.

Every 4 to 5 years new Euro Standards are released in an attempt to make vehicles more efficient. The table below shows when each emission standard has been released so far hence giving you a guide to what emissions standard each type of vehicle will be, depending on when it was manufactured (as a guide only)

Euro Standard Introduction date (All new registrations)
Euro-1 31st December 1992
Euro-2 1st January 1997
Euro-3 1st January 2001
Euro-4 1st January 2006
Euro-5 1st January 2011
Euro-6 1st September 2015

Why do we have them?

Faced with the increasing concerns around global warming, the European Union is striving for cleaner more controlled emissions from our vehicles. Starting back in 1993 with Euro 1, European authorities decided to map out a plan to make the trucks and buses on our roads as clean and efficient as they can be in an attempt to eliminate pollutants such as carbon, NOx, Hydrocarbons and particulates.

What does it mean for me?

So what do the European Emission Standards mean for you? Well the cleaner your emissions, the less tax you pay– it’s as simple as that. In addition to that, if you’re vehicle was produced after 2009, it will have LEZ compliance meaning gone are the days of expensive trips through Low Emission Zones.

Also, due to advancements in technology, the more advanced euro rating you have, the higher the fuel efficiency your vehicle is likely to have. Due to the soaring fuel prices in the UK, this fuel efficiency should improve the residual value of high Euro rated trucks in the long term, generating a worthwhile investment.

What vehicles, what standards, what deadlines?

If you want to drive a lorry, bus, coach or other specialist heavy diesel vehicle in the Low Emission Zone (LEZ) without paying a daily charge, it needs to meet certain emissions standards.

Vehicle Emissions standards required to meet particulate matter levels
Heavier vehicles (over 12t gvw*)  Euro 6 for commercial and private purposes

Diesel vehicles that don’t meet the LEZ emissions standards (when registered as new before 1 October 2006)

Vehicle type Weight
Lorries More that 3.5 tonnes gross vehicle weight

Is my vehicle affected by Low Emission Zones?

Different Emissions Ratings determine whether you qualify or not to drive through Low Emission Zones. To check if your vehicle is affected by the Low Emissions Zone (Or the vehicle that you’re looking in to buying) visit GOV.UK