Euro emission standards play a pivotal role in protecting the levels of pollution in the UK and Europe.
The Euro emission standards we use in the UK were set by the European Union, and these standards have now become benchmarks for many countries.
The Euro emission standards define the maximum limits for pollutants that vehicles can emit. From the earliest Euro 1 to the current Euro 6, each subsequent standard has set tighter limits, pushing car manufacturers to innovate and adopt greener technologies.
In this article, we will review details of each Euro standard, helping you understand its importance and also guide you on how to check what euro standard your car is.
What do we need Euro Emission Standards?
Every vehicle that runs on fossil fuels emits a combination of gases and particles into the atmosphere. These emissions primarily include carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), hydrocarbons (HC), and particulate matter (PM), among others.
Collectively, these pollutants have a profound effect on the environment. CO2, for instance, is a major greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming and subsequent climate change.
Vehicle emissions are also directly linked to public health issues. Prolonged exposure to pollutants can lead to a range of respiratory issues, including asthma and bronchitis.
Controlling these emissions is really important and this is where the Euro 1 to Euro 7 emission standards come into play. The Euro emission standards set clear, measurable limits on the amount and type of pollutants a vehicle can emit. By tightening these standards over time, regulators can push car makers to improve and adopt cleaner tech.
The Euro 1 to Euro 6 standard also provides local governments with a framework to regulate Clean Air Zones, using these emission standards as a means to decide which vehicles will be charged for entering the clean air zones.
What are the Euro Emissions Standards?
The Euro emissions standards, initiated by the European Union (EU) in the early 1990s, are a series of regulations that define the levels of pollutants allowed for new road vehicles sold within the EU.
These emission standards are set for various vehicle types, from passenger cars to heavy-duty trucks and buses. As technology has advanced and understanding of pollutants’ impact on health and the environment has deepened, the standards have evolved:
- Euro 1 (1992) Focused on limiting carbon monoxide (CO) and hydrocarbons (HC) for petrol engines and particulate matter (PM) for diesel engines.
- Euro 2 (1996) Introduced nitrogen oxides (NOx) limits for petrol engines and tightened PM limits for diesel engines.
- Euro 3 (2000) Separated NOx and HC limits and mandated evaporative emission controls, addressing not just tailpipe emissions but also fuel systems.
- Euro 4 (2005) Further reductions in PM for diesel and NOx and CO for petrol engines.
- Euro 5 (2009) Significantly lowered NOx for diesel vehicles and introduced a more rigorous testing procedure.
- Euro 6 (2014) Placed special emphasis on diesel vehicles, tightening their NOx limits and introducing limits for additional pollutants.
- Euro 7 (2025) Coming soon to a car showroom near you! The most up-to-date and stringent standards, Euro 7 will focus on all vehicle emissions, including brakes and tyres, with enhanced testing and battery longevity.
In order to meet these standards vehicles have to undergo rigorous testing in controlled environments.
The influence of the Euro standards can be seen far beyond Europe. Given how well they tackle pollution control, a lot of countries outside the EU have adopted or adapted the same emission standards, including the USA and Japan.
With the age of Electric Vehicles upon us, the EU has been busy preparing the anticipated Euro 7.
What is the Euro 7 Emission Standard and when it be introduced?
The Euro 7 emission standard will be introduced on 1 July 2025.
This new standard will be the strictest to date, implementing the lowest limits from the previous Euro 6 across all new petrol and diesel cars.
From 2025 onwards, all new cars sold must emit no more than 60 milligrams of NOx to be compliant. Euro 7 is also set to introduce emission limits on brakes and tyres to reduce the release of brake dust and tyre particulates.
Electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids will see their batteries assessed for longevity, ensuring higher standards for used EV batteries. Also, all vehicles, including petrol and diesel, will be monitored for sustained cleanliness, with electronic sensors fitted to track factors like wear and tear, exhaust filters, and engine conditions.
The monitoring duration has been extended to 10 years and 200,000km, up from the previous 5 years and 100,000km.
How to check your car’s Euro Emissions Standard
If you need to find out your cars’s Euro emission standard, there are several ways to do so:
Check your car’s EURO emissions on your car registration paperwork
The emission standard can often be found on the vehicle’s registration papers.
For UK vehicles, the Euro emission standard can be located in the V5C registration certificate, in section D.2.
Check your car’s EURO emissions on the Gov website
For vehicles registered in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, and the UK (specifically for the current London ULEZ emissions standards), you can use online platforms provided by each country to check the emission standards of your vehicle.
In the UK you can check your car’s EURO emissions by registration via the TFL Check Your Vehicle Page.
Check your car’s EURO emissions on your car door frame
The Euro emission standard might be displayed on the car door frame. Open the door and look around the door frame for a sticker, you may find this information.
Check your car’s EURO emissions by the age of your car
The age of a car is the easiest way to find out its Euro standard, especially for most petrol or diesel-fueled vehicles. The table below will help check the emission standard of your car:
What Euro Emissions Standard is my car?
|My Car Was Registered On:||Euro Emissions Standard||Key Euro Focus & Changes|
|Before 31 December 1992||Pre-Euro||Not applicable|
|From 31 December 1992||Euro 1||Main focus on limiting CO and HC emissions for gasoline-powered vehicles. Emphasis on reducing PM for diesel vehicles.|
|From 1 January 1997||Euro 2||Tightened limits for CO and introduced NOx limits for gasoline engines. Further reduction in PM for diesel engines.|
|From 1 January 2001||Euro 3||Introduced separate NOx and HC limits. Evaporative emission controls made mandatory.|
|From 1 January 2006||Euro 4||Tightened PM levels for diesel and reduced CO and NOx levels for gasoline engines.|
|From 1 January 2011||Euro 5||Significantly lowered NOx levels for diesel vehicles. Introduced a more rigorous testing procedure.|
|From 1 September 2015||Euro 6||Focused on diesel vehicles, bringing their NOx limits closer to gasoline vehicles. Introduced limits for additional pollutants.|
|From 1 July 2025||Euro 7||Strictest standards yet, focusing on all vehicle emissions, including brakes and tyres, with enhanced testing and battery longevity.|
Is Euro 5 ULEZ compliant?
The ULEZ (Ultra Low Emission Zone) standards were implemented in London to reduce pollution levels and promote better air quality. For diesel vehicles to be compliant within these zones, they must meet at least the Euro 6 emissions standards.
- Euro 5 Diesel Vehicles and ULEZ
These vehicles are not compliant with ULEZ standards. If you drive a Euro 5 diesel vehicle in a ULEZ, you’ll typically be required to pay a daily charge. This charge can be significant and is meant to discourage the use of higher-polluting vehicles within the zone.
- Euro 5 Petrol Vehicles and ULEZ
For petrol cars, the ULEZ standards are more lenient. Cars that meet Euro 4 and above are ULEZ compliant. Therefore, Euro 5 petrol cars are compliant and won’t attract a ULEZ charge.
Is Euro 6 ULEZ compliant?
Euro 6 is the most stringent emissions standard to date for vehicles. It placed a significant focus on diesel vehicles, bringing their Nitrogen Oxide limits closer to those of petrol vehicles.
- Euro 6 Diesel Vehicles and ULEZ
These vehicles are compliant with ULEZ standards. If your diesel vehicle meets the Euro 6 emissions standards, you can drive within a ULEZ without having to pay daily charges.
- Euro 6 Petrol Vehicles and ULEZ
As mentioned above, petrol vehicles that meet the Euro 4 standard and above are ULEZ compliant. This means that Euro 6 petrol vehicles are, of course, ULEZ compliant.
The final word on Euro 1 to Euro 7 Vehicle Emission Standards
Euro emission standards might initially look like a jumble of numbers and terms, but each Euro standard tells a story of technological advancement! The progression from Euro 1 to Euro 6 is more than just stepping up regulations; it reflects our growing understanding of pollution’s impact and our shared responsibility to address it.
In order to work out what Euro standard your car belongs to, you have several options available, from VIN checks to manufacturer queries, but one of the most straightforward approaches is to refer to the vehicle’s age.
By matching your vehicle’s registration date with our chart above, you can quickly find out what Euro emission standard your car is.
As we look ahead to the next standard on the horizon, Euro 7, it’s important not to stress about the charges and bureaucracy and to remember that with each new Euro level that comes in we take a step closer to a sustainable future on this planet!
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John is the Editor and Spokesperson for Electric Car Guide.
With over 20 years of writing experience, he has written for titles such as City AM, FE News and NerdWallet.com, covering various automotive and personal finance topics.
John’s market commentary has been covered by the likes of The Express, The Independent, Yahoo Finance and The Evening Standard.