The European Parliament has adopted a proposal to gradually set tighter emission limits for cars, in particular nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particles.. The new standards (known as Euro 5 and 6) will apply from 1 September 2009, setting tighter emission limits of particles and of NOx for new cars and vans sold in the EU market (e.g. an 80% cut in the emission limit for particulate matters from diesel cars under Euro 5). This makes the introduction of particle filters for diesel cars obligatory. Euro 6 will set significantly lower emission limits for NOx emissions from diesel cars (68 % lower than today’s emission limit) and will enter into force five years after Euro 5, i.e. in 2014. The EP vote is based on a compromise reached with the Council, which is expected to adopt the package shortly.
Commission Vice-President Günter Verheugen, responsible for enterprise and industry policy, said: “The Euro 5 and 6 regulation is important for improving the environmental performance of vehicles. At the same time it will not hamper the competitiveness of the EU’s car industry. It can count on a reasonable lead time to properly plan for and react to these requirements.”
Reduced emissions from road transport are seen as an important factor to improve air quality, particularly because the share of diesel vehicles in the overall sales of light duty vehicles is increasing. The Euro 5 and 6 Regulation is revising the current emission limits for motor vehicles (the Euro 4 standards, which have applied since 1 January 2005), as technology has improved.
Euro 5 will enter into force in September 2009 and makes the introduction obligatory of a particle filter for all diesel cars of new models. New diesel cars of an existing car model should be fitted with a particle filter as of January 2011. Euro 6 will enter into force in 2014.
The attached table shows the timing of the entry into force of the new limit values for Euro 5 and Euro 6 vehicles. In addition, it makes it clear that numerous vehicle types that benefited from the more lenient limit values for vans under Euro 4 will gradually be brought under the tougher limit values for passenger cars under Euro 6. This applies in particular to the heavier cars such as off-road vehicles and people carriers with up to 7 seats including the driver. More specifically, the so-called sports utility vehicles (SUVs) will have to fulfil the tougher limit values for passenger cars from 1st September 2012.
In terms of benefits, the Euro 6 stage will result in an increase of the health benefits by approximately 60 – 90% relative to Euro 5.
The new legislation also requires information on vehicle repairs to be easily available to independent repairers. The environmental performance of vehicles is not only important when they leave the factory, but must be maintained throughout their lives. Without practical access to repair and maintenance information, this cannot be done. Car producers will have a concomitant responsibility to make sure that cars can be properly driven, repaired, and maintained, wherever they may be throughout the internal market. This is important for protecting independent operators, most of them SMEs, from gradually disappearing from the market due to their inability to service modern cars without access to the relevant information.