Charging of heavy goods vehicles: Eurovignette Directive

Most EU countries charge hauliers for using their transport infrastructure, notably roads. The EU has introduced the Eurovignette with the aim of recovering construction, maintenance, repair and environmental costs, ensuring fair competition and preventing discrimination.

Directive 1999/62/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 June 1999 on the charging of heavy goods vehicles for the use of certain infrastructures.

It replaces earlier legislation – Directive 93/89/EEC – which had been annulled by the European Court of Justice in 1995. It harmonises the conditions under which national authorities may apply taxes, tolls and user charges on goods carried by road.

Key Points

Financial charges initially only applied to vehicles with a maximum gross laden weight of 12 tonnes. From 2012, this was extended to vehicles over 3.5 tonnes.
They may be levied on motorways, bridges, tunnels, mountain passes and certain other categories of roads.
Charges may not discriminate between the haulier’s nationality or the vehicle’s origin or destination.

Mandatory controls at internal EU borders are forbidden.Charges may vary depending on emissions produced or the time the road infrastructure is used.

National authorities may levy other taxes in specific circumstances, such as registration, abnormal loads and parking or to avoid congestion.
Charges do not apply to vehicles registered in the Canaries, Ceuta and Melilla, the Azores or Madeira operating in those territories or between them and Spain and Portugal.
Directive 2003/96/EC sets minimum tax levels for all motor fuels. Countries with road user charges may apply a reduced rate for gas oil used by those vehicles.

Application & Background

In 2014, the Commission adopted a strategy to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions from transport. This emphasised the contributions new technology, including alternative fuels, and a shift to other forms of transport could make.

For more information, see the European Commission’s road charging website.



Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Directive 1999/62/EC



OJ L 187 of 20.7.1999, pp. 42-50

Amending act(s)

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Directive 2006/38/EC



OJ L 157 of 9.6.2006, pp. 8-23

Council Directive 2006/103/EC



OJ L 363 of 20.12.2006, pp. 344-351

Directive 2011/76/EU



OJ L 269 of 14.10.2011, pp. 1-16

Council Directive 2013/22/EU



OJ L 158 of 10.6.2013, pp. 356-361


Council Directive 2003/96/EC of 27 October 2003 restructuring the Community framework for the taxation of energy products and electricity (OJ L 283 of 31.10.2003, pp. 51-70).

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament – Strategy for reducing heavy-duty vehicles’ fuel consumption and CO2 emissions (COM(2014) 285 final of 21.5.2014).

Clean and energy-efficient road transport vehicles

Directive 2009/33/EC on promoting clean and energy-efficient road transport vehicles

It aims at promoting and stimulating the development of a market for clean and energy-efficient vehicles in the European Union (EU).
As amended by Directive (EU) 2019/1161, it sets minimum national targets for the procurement of clean vehicles. The targets are defined as a minimum share of clean vehicles in the aggregate public authorities and certain public transport operators across a Member State.


As amended by Directive (EU) 2019/1161, the directive applies to contracts for the procurement of certain road transport vehicles (cars, vans, trucks and buses) and services, by contracting authorities, contracting entities and operators of public service obligations under a public service contract.

The amending directive extended the application of the directive so that it now covers procurement through:

contracts for the purchase, lease, rent and hire-purchase of vehicles;
service contracts for public road passenger transport;
service contracts for public road transport services, special-purpose road passenger-transport services, non-scheduled passenger transport, refuse collection services, and mail and parcel transport and delivery.
Amending Directive (EU) 2019/1161 also introduced a new definition of a ‘clean vehicle’*.

Minimum procurement targets

Directive 2009/33/EC, as amended by Directive (EU) 2019/1161, sets minimum public procurement targets for light-duty vehicles (cars and vans), trucks and buses for 2025 and 2030. In the case of buses, half of the targets have to be met with zero-emission vehicles (battery electric or hydrogen buses). These targets are set out in the directive’s annex.

For each Member State, a different target is set for light-duty vehicles, trucks and buses. These targets are calculated as a minimum percentage of clean vehicles in the total number of vehicles procured through public procurement in each Member State, over two 5-year periods: 2021–2025 and 2026–2030. Member States have to ensure that the targets are met, but they have full flexibility in how they distribute the effort across different contracting authorities and contracting entities.

Sharing best practice

The European Commission encourages the sharing of knowledge and best practice between Member States with a view to promoting the purchase of clean and energy-efficient road transport vehicles.

Several initiatives are under way that ensure the directive is implemented. These include:

guidelines on green public procurement and a technical background report;
the European green vehicle initiative, which seeks to support the development of green vehicles and sustainable mobility solutions;
the European clean bus deployment initiative; andvarious studies.

The Commission has the power to adopt implementing acts and is assisted in this by a committee governed by the EU’s comitology rules.

Application & Background

The directive has applied since 4 June 2009 and had to become law in the Member States by 4 December 2010.

The changes introduced by amending Directive (EU) 2019/1161, including the introduction of a ‘clean vehicle’ definition and the setting of minimum national targets for their procurement, have applied since 2 August 2019, and had to become law in the Member States by 2 August 2021.

A clean light-duty vehicle (e.g. car, van) is defined on the basis of its CO2 emissions (the applicable emission limits are laid down in Table 2 of the directive’s annex).
A clean heavy-duty vehicle (e.g. bus, truck) is defined on the basis of the use of alternative fuels, as defined in Directive 2014/94/EU (see summary). A separate definition is provided for zero-emission heavy-duty vehicles.


Directive 2009/33/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 on the promotion of clean and energy-efficient road transport vehicles (OJ L 120, 15.5.2009, pp. 5–12).

Successive amendments to Directive 2009/33/EC have been incorporated in the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.

Directive 2014/94/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 October 2014 on the deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure (OJ L 307, 28.10.2014, pp. 1–20).

See consolidated version.

Report from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on the application of Directive 2009/33/EC on the promotion of clean and energy efficient road transport vehicles (COM (2013) 214 final, 18.4.2013).

Commission Notice on the application of Articles 2, 3, 4 and 5 of Directive 2009/33/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the promotion of clean road transport vehicles in support of low-emission mobility 2020/C 352/01 (OJ C 352, 22.10.2020, pp. 1–12).


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