What are they?
‘Euro 6’ is the name of a single stage in a long-term, multi-step plan to reduce emissions across the EU. This plan started in 1992 with Euro 1, and chronologically, and began to make small changes and updates. This is where we are now.
Differently worded, Euro 6 and Euro 7 are both vehicle emission standards. Euro 6 (introduced in September 2014) is the predecessor and Euro 7 is the successor. They are both directives set by the European Union to help reduce the level of harmful pollutants produced by new vehicles.
As you might know, there is increasing pressure from EU regulators to reduce emissions. An example of that is the European Green Deal – European Climate Law whose long-term goal is to achieve net zero Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050. This was where the EU 7 standards were introduced and will be taken into effect in 2025.
As a result, an intermediate target of 55% GHG emissions reduction by 2030 versus 1990 was set in the EU ‘Fit for 55’ package. Achieving these climate goals requires a much higher share of Renewable Energy Sources (RES) in the total energy generation and consumption mix in the EU than has been realized so far.
Euro 6 or Euro VI?
In order to avoid confusion, all European emission standards for heavy-duty vehicles, such as lorries/HGVs and buses, are commonly referred to with roman numerals e.g. Euro VI. Numbers are typically used for light-duty vehicles such as cars and vans and will appear as Euro 6. This in fact has brought about the opposite effect, which the Euro 7 standards will aim to solve.
Why are they important?
Short answer: because they contribute to a cleaner environment.
The European emissions standards were introduced in 1993 to reduce the pollution generated by cars. Specifically, nitrogen oxide (NOx), carbon monoxide (CO), hydrocarbons (THC and NMHC) and particulate matter (PM).
Nitrogen oxide (NOx) is a pollutant that has profound health implications and is harmful to the environment. Particulate matter, meanwhile, was found to cause breathing and pulmonary problems.
Different fuels produce different levels of pollutants as they are burnt, which is why the standards work differently for petrol and diesel cars. Diesel engines produce more NOx than petrol ones, for example, and therefore the limit is set higher, at 0.08g/km, as opposed to 0.06g/km for petrol models.
If they do not comply, that could mean drivers will not have access to certain areas with strict emission standards, not to mention the detrimental effect on the atmosphere and the environment.
The differences between Euro 6 and Euro 7
Euro 6 standards for petrol engines: (Euro 1 to Euro 6 – find out your vehicle’s emissions standard | RAC Drive)
- Carbon monoxide – 1.0g/km
- Total hydrocarbon emissions: 0.10g/km
- Non-methane hydrocarbon emissions: 0.068g/km
- Nitrogen oxides: 0.06g/km
- Particulate matter: 0.005g/km (direct injection only)
Euro 6 standards for diesel engines:
- Carbon monoxide: 0.50g/km
- Hydrocarbons and Nitrogen oxides: 0.17g/km
- Nitrogen oxides: 0.08g/km
- Particulate matter: 0.005g/km
Euro VI heavy-duty vehicle emission standards for diesel engines:
As presented by the European Commission on 9-10 November 2022, the official final proposal for Euro 7 standards is here. One of the major changes we can expect is the simplification of the current standards. Therefore, Euro 7 will address both light and heavy-duty vehicles.
Summary of benefits from Euro 7 implementation delivered by 2035 compared to the current Euro 6/VI position as declared by the EC:
- Reduction of NOx emissions by 35% from cars/vans and 56% from lorries/buses.
- Reduction of exhaust particulate matters by 13% from cars/vans and 39% from lorries/buses.
- Reduction of particles from brakes by 27% from cars/vans.
Euro 7 also introduces new types of pollutants (no tailpipe) from brakes, tires and requirements for battery performance.
You can find more details of the proposal here.
The European Union is revising new emission standards and expects them to be implemented in 2025. If approved, there are already fixed dates for the entry into force for cars/vans (M1, N1 vehicles) and lorries/buses (M2, M3, N2, N3 vehicles), i.e.:
Euro 7 entry into force and application:
- It shall apply from 1 July 2025 for M1, N1 vehicles and components.
- It shall apply from 1 July 2027 for M2, M3, N2, N3 vehicles and components and O3, O4 trailers.
- It shall apply from 1 July 2030 for M1, N1 vehicles constructed by small-volume manufacturers.
New vehicles which will not comply with Euro 7 will not be allowed for registration and operation in the EU after Euro 7 entry into force. This new standard is urgently needed as a failure to address the causes of the toxic air that millions of us are forced to breathe daily.
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