Reduction in CO2 emissions of new passenger cars

Road transport is one of the largest greenhouse-gas emitting sectors in the European Union (EU). In order to reduce emissions in this sector, this Regulation sets limits for new passenger cars.

Regulation (EC) No 443/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 setting emission performance standards for new passenger cars as part of the Community’s integrated approach to reduce CO2 emissions from light-duty vehicles (Text with EEA relevance).

This Regulation sets standards to frame the CO2 emissions of new passenger cars. The limit set by the Regulation is 130 g of CO2/km. From 2020, this level is to be reduced to 95 g of CO2.

Types of vehicles concerned by the Regulation

The Regulation shall apply to vehicles of category M1 as defined in Annex II to the Directive on the type-approval of motor vehicles which are registered in the European Union (EU) for the first time and which have not previously been registered in a third country.

Specific emissions targets

Manufacturers of vehicles have average CO2 emission targets, the formulae for which are set out in Annex I to this Regulation.

For each manufacturer, the following percentages of passenger cars are taken into account in order to determine average specific emissions of CO2:

  • 65 % in 2012;
  • 75 % in 2013;
  • 80 % in 2014;
  • 100 % from 2015 onwards.

This Regulation includes specific provisions for vehicles running on a mixture of fuel with 85 % ethanol (E85). In order to determine whether a manufacturer meets their CO2 emission targets, the percentage of specific emissions for this type of vehicle is to be reduced by 5 % by 31 December 2015. This reduction target is only applicable if at least 30 % of the service stations in the Member State where the vehicle is registered are able to offer this type of biofuel.

In order to create incentives for the car industry to invest in new technologies, super-credits encourage the development of cars generating less emissions than traditional cars. In calculating the average specific emissions of CO2, each new passenger car with specific emissions of CO2 of less than 50 g/km shall be counted as:

  • 5 cars in 2012,
  • 5 cars in 2013,
  • 5 cars in 2014,
  • 5 cars in 2015,
  • 1 car from 2016.

Pools of manufacturers

In order to meet targets for specific emissions, manufacturers may form pools. To do this, they shall send the European Commission an information file including the list of participating manufacturers, the name of the manufacturer nominated as pool manager and proof that the latter has the capacity to fulfil their duties.

The members of the pool shall exchange data relating to:

  • the average specific emissions of CO2;
  • the specific emissions target;
  • the total number of vehicles registered.

Monitoring and reporting of average emissions

Member States shall be responsible for collecting data for each new passenger car registered in their territory. They shall send the Commission the following information concerning these vehicles:

  • their number;
  • their average specific emissions;
  • their average mass;
  • their distribution;
  • their footprint.

The Commission shall keep a publicly available central register of this data and for each manufacturer shall provisionally calculate:

  • the average specific emissions of CO2 in the preceding calendar year;
  • the specific emissions target in the preceding calendar year;
  • the difference between its average specific emissions of CO2 in the preceding calendar year and its specific emissions target for that year.

Excess emissions premium

From 2012, manufacturers must pay an additional premium if they exceed their specific emissions target. From 2019, this premium will be calculated in a different way.

Derogations for certain manufacturers

Manufacturers may apply to the Commission for a derogation in the following cases:

  • they produce fewer than 10,000 new passenger cars registered in the EU;
  • they do not belong to a pool of manufacturers;
  • they belong to a pool of manufacturers which represents fewer than 10,000 new passenger cars registered in the EU;
  • they are part of a pool of manufacturers but operate their own production facilities and design centre.

The Commission may grant a derogation for a period of five years.


Suppliers and manufacturers may introduce innovative technologies to reduce CO2 emissions. The total contribution of these technologies may reach a maximum of 7 g of CO2/km.

The Commission will re-examine specific emission targets by 1 January 2013 at the latest.

This Regulation repeals Decision No 1753/2000/EC.


Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 443/2009 8.6.2009 OJ L 140 of 5.6.2009


Commission Regulation (EU) No 1014/2010 on monitoring and reporting of data on the registration of new passenger cars pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 443/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council (Text with EEA relevance).
This Regulation lays down guidelines relating to the collection and reporting of data about each new passenger car. These data are to be used in determining the specific CO2 emissions target and in assessing whether manufacturers comply with that target.
These data are based on the information contained in the certificate of conformity of the passenger car concerned. They also concern vehicles which:

  • generate low CO2 emissions;
  • run on ethanol;
  • are equipped with innovative technologies.

Information on the fuel consumption and CO2 emissions of new cars

To help consumers choose vehicles with low fuel consumption, the European Union requires dealers in new passenger cars to provide potential buyers with useful information on these vehicles’ fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. This information must be displayed on the car’s label, on posters and other promotional material, and in specific guides.

Directive 1999/94/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 December 1999 relating to the availability of consumer information on fuel economy and CO2 emissions in respect of the marketing of new passenger cars


At the December 1997 Kyoto Conference on climate change, the Community undertook to reduce its emissions of a basket of greenhouse gases by 8% during the period 2008 to 2012 relative to 1990 levels. This Directive is part of an overall Community strategy aimed at meeting this commitment to reduce CO2 emissions, in particular those caused by passenger cars.

The purpose of the Directive is to ensure that information relating to the fuel economy and CO2 emissions of new passenger cars offered for sale or lease in the Community is made available to consumers. This consumer information system is to be set up using the following four methods:

  • attaching a fuel consumption and CO2 emissions label to the vehicle;
  • producing a fuel consumption and CO2 emissions guide;
  • displaying posters in car showrooms;
  • including fuel consumption and CO2 emissions data in promotional material.

The Directive stipulates that a fuel economy label must be attached to the windscreen of all new passenger cars at the point of sale. This label must be clearly visible and meet certain requirements set out in Annex I. In particular, it must contain an estimate of fuel consumption, expressed in litres per 100 kilometres or in kilometres per litre (or in miles per gallon), and of CO2 emissions.

A fuel economy guide must be produced at national level at least once a year. It must set out all the information specified in Annex II, including a list of the 10 most fuel-efficient new car versions in terms of their CO2 emissions by fuel type. This guide must be compact, portable and free of charge. Consumers must be able to obtain it both at the point of sale of the dealer and from a designated body within each Member State. In addition, the Commission will make available an electronic version of the guide, accessible on the Internet.

For each make on sale, the dealer must display on posters or in any other form (including electronic displays) a list of the fuel consumption data of all the models. These data should be broken down by type of fuel and ranked in order of fuel efficiency as indicated by CO2 emission levels.

The Directive also provides that promotional material (advertisements in newspapers, posters, brochures) used in marketing new cars must contain fuel consumption and CO2 emissions data.

The Directive requires the prohibition of any marking relating to fuel consumption which does not comply with the above provisions and which might cause confusion.

Member States must notify the Commission of the competent body or bodies responsible for the implementation and functioning of the consumer information scheme.

The Commission is assisted by the committee set up under the Directive on the indication of the energy consumption of household appliances.


Consumer information, achieved by means of labels showing a vehicle’s CO2 emissions, is one of the three pillars of the strategy the EU adopted in 1995 to reduce CO2 emissions. The other two pillars are a voluntary commitment by automobile manufacturers to reduce CO2 emissions and the promotion of fuel-efficient cars via fiscal measures.


Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Directive 1999/94/EC 18.1.2000 18.1.2001 OJ L 12, 18.1.2000


Amending acts Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Directive 2003/73/EC 25.7.2003 24.7.2004 OJ L 186, 25.7.2003
Regulation (EC) No 1882/2003 20.11.2003 OJ L 284, 31.10.2003
Regulation (EC) No 1137/2008 11.12.2008 OJ L 311, 21.11.2008

Successive amendments and corrections to Directive 1999/94/CE been incorporated in the basic text. This consolidated version  is for reference purpose only.


Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 7 February 2007 – Results of the review of the Community Strategy to reduce CO2 emissions from passenger cars and light commercial vehicles [COM(2007) 19 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
The Commission finds that, despite the progress made on achieving the voluntary target of 140 g of CO2/km by 2008-09, the target of 120 g/CO2 that the EU has set itself will not be achieved by 2012 without additional measures. In order to achieve this target, the Commission proposes mandatory reductions of CO2 emissions to 130 g of CO2/km by means of better engine technologies (to be achieved by the automobile manufacturers) and a further reduction of 10 g of CO2/km through other technological improvements (tyre pressure monitoring systems, more effective air-conditioning systems) and an increased use of biofuels. Furthermore, the Commission intends to promote the purchase of fuel-efficient vehicles, particularly by improving vehicle labelling and by introducing legislation that would enable car tax systems in the Member States to take account of CO2 emissions.

Commission Recommendation 2003/217/EC of 26 March 2003 on the application to other media of the provisions of Directive 1999/94/EC concerning promotional literature [Official Journal L 82, 29.3.2003].
The purpose of this Recommendation is to extend the consumer information measures provided for in Directive 1999/94/EC to all promotional material used in marketing, advertising and promoting vehicles as covered by that Directive, whether the media be magnetic, optical or electronic, including Internet sites.

Commission Decision 2001/677/EC of 10 August 2001 on a reporting format for completion by Member States in accordance with Directive 1999/94/EC [Official Journal L 237, 6.9.2001].

Emissions from air conditioning systems in motor vehicles

Technical harmonisation relating to emissions from air-conditioning systems in motor vehicles supplements the measures taken by the European Union (EU) on the reduction of fluorinated greenhouse gases.

Directive 2006/40/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 May 2006 relating to emissions from air conditioning systems in motor vehicles and amending Council Directive 70/156/EEC.

In accordance with the objective of the Kyoto Protocol to reduce the CO2 gas emissions that are causing climate change, the Directive aims to cut back the emissions of fluorinated greenhouse gases used in air conditioning systems * in motor vehicles. It thus averts any obstacles which may arise, within the internal market, from the adoption by the Member States of different technical requirements on this aspect.

The Directive therefore provides for the gradual prohibition of air conditioning systems designed to contain fluorinated gases with a global warming potential higher than 150 .

Technical provisions

The Directive makes provision, first of all, for controlling leakages from air conditioning systems designed to contain greenhouse gases with a global warming potential higher than 150. Such air conditioning systems are therefore banned by a transitional measure, unless the rate of leakage from that system does not exceed the maximum permissible limits. This measure shall apply to all new vehicle types as from 21 June 2008 and to new vehicles from 21 June 2009.

As a second stage, the Directive provides for a total ban on air conditioning systems designed to contain fluorinated greenhouse gases with a global warming potential higher than 150. The ban covers all new vehicle types from 1 January 2011 and applies to all new vehicles from 1 January 2017.

The Directive also lays down provisions on the retrofitting and refilling of air conditioning systems.


The vehicles covered by the Directive are passenger cars (category M1 vehicles) and light commercial vehicles (category N1, class 1 vehicles).

Follow-up to Directive 2006/40/EC

Directive 2006/40/EC is the first stage of a legislative package on air conditioning systems. New legislation will supply the administrative provisions concerning the EC type-approval procedure and a harmonised leakage detection test in order to measure the leakage rate of fluorinated gases with a global warming potential higher than 150.


Following the approval of the Kyoto Protocol by the European Union (EU) (Decision 2002/358/EC) and, therefore, the commitment made to reducing emissions of greenhouse gases, several Member States planned to regulate emissions from air-conditioning systems in motor vehicles. In order to avoid a situation where differing regulations impede the free movement of motor vehicles within the internal market, it is necessary to harmonise the technical specifications concerning air conditioning systems. This Directive forms part of the EC type-approval procedure.

Key terms
·         Air-conditioning system: any system whose main purpose is to decrease the air temperature and humidity of the passenger compartment of a vehicle.

·         Global warming potential (GWP): the climatic warming potential of a fluorinated greenhouse gas relative to that of carbon dioxide. It is calculated in terms of the 100 year warming potential of one kilogram of a gas relative to one kilogram of CO2. The relevant GWP figures are those published in the third assessment report adopted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2001 IPCC GWP values).


Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Directive 2006/40/EC 04.07.2006 04.01.2008 OJ L 161, 14.06.2006

Emissions from heavy duty vehicles (Euro VI): certification rules

This Regulation contributes to meeting European objectives to combat polluting emissions and on air quality. It establishes rules on technical requirements for the type-approval of motor vehicles with respect to emissions produced, and supplements existing legislation on the Community type-approval of motor vehicles.

Regulation (EC) No 595/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 June 2009 on type-approval of motor vehicles and engines with respect to emissions from heavy duty vehicles (Euro VI) and on access to vehicle repair and maintenance information and amending Regulation (EC) No 715/2007 and Directive 2007/46/EC and repealing Directives 80/1269/EEC, 2005/55/EC and 2005/78/EC (Text with EEA relevance).

This Regulation defines the legal framework for type-approval of motor vehicles, engines and replacement parts with respect to their emissions. It also establishes rules on:

  • in-service conformity of vehicles and engines;
  • durability of pollution control devices;
  • on-board diagnostic (OBD) systems and accessibility of information;
  • measurement of fuel consumption;
  • CO2

This Regulation applies to motor vehicles of categories M1, M2, N1 and N2 (see Annex II of Directive 2007/46/EC).

Obligations of the manufacturers

Manufacturers must be able to demonstrate that all new vehicles, engines or spare parts sold, registered or put into service within the Community have been EC type-approved.

Manufacturers must also implement technical measures to guarantee effective limitation of tailpipe emissions.

This Regulation also establishes conditions for pollution control devices according to a mileage and life cycle specific to each vehicle category.

Requirements and tests

Manufacturers must equip their vehicles or engines with components that ensure compliance with the emission limits laid down in Annex I of this Regulation.

The European Commission lays down provisions to ensure compliance with emission limits – mainly measures concerning tailpipe emissions *, pollution control devices, reference fuels and the measurement of engine power.

Access to information

Vehicle manufacturers must guarantee independent operators  access to information on on-board diagnostic (OBD) systems, and on diagnostic equipment, tools or software.

Manufacturers are also responsible for providing information on vehicle repairs and maintenance . The final manufacturer shall be responsible for communicating information about the whole vehicle.

The information should be made available on the websites of manufacturers, or, if this is not feasible, in another appropriate format.


National authorities shall no longer grant Community or national type-approval for vehicles that do not comply with this Regulation as from 31 December 2012. They are also to prohibit the registration of new vehicles that do not comply with this Regulation as from 31 December 2013.

Financial incentives

Member States may grant financial incentives for the purchase of motor vehicles produced in series which comply with this Regulation until 31 December 2013. Retrofitting measures may also be considered either to adapt in-use motor vehicles or for scrapping.

The amount of the financial incentives shall be equal to the additional cost of the technical measures introduced to ensure compliance of the vehicle with emission limits.

This Regulation repeals Directives 80/1269/EEC, 2005/55/EC and 2005/78/EC with effect from 31 December 2013.


The Sixth Community Environment Action Programme highlights the need to reduce air pollution. This Regulation contributes to the Union’s objectives in terms of air quality by establishing a system which constrains the automobile industry to limit the vehicle emissions that it produces.

Key terms of the Act
·         Tailpipe emissions: emissions of gaseous and particulate pollutants;

·         On-Board Diagnostic (OBD) system: a system on board a vehicle or connected to an engine which has the capability of detecting malfunctions, and, if applicable, of indicating their occurrence by means of an alert system, of identifying the likely area of malfunction by means of information stored in computer memory, and of communicating that information off-board;

·         Vehicle repair and maintenance information: all information required for diagnosis, servicing, inspection, periodic monitoring, repair, re-programming or re-initialising or the remote diagnostic support of the vehicle and which the manufacturers provide for their authorised dealers and repairers, including all subsequent amendments and supplements to such information. This information includes all information required for fitting parts or equipment onto vehicles;

·         Independent operator: undertakings other than authorised dealers and repairers which are directly or indirectly involved in the repair and maintenance of motor vehicles, in particular repairers, manufacturers or distributors of repair equipment, tools or spare parts, publishers of technical information, automobile clubs, roadside assistance operators, operators offering inspection and testing services, operators offering training for installers, manufacturers and repairers of equipment for alternative fuel vehicles.


Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 595/2009 7.8.2009 OJ L 188 of 18.7.2009

Clean and energy-efficient road transport vehicles

This Directive contributes to the European targets for energy efficiency and the reduction of pollutant emissions in the transport sector. It establishes a framework to foster the promotion and development of a market for clean 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

(Text with EEA relevance).

This Directive aims at promoting and stimulating the development of a market for clean and energy-efficient vehicles. With regard to procurement for public transport, the Directive requires public authorities and some other operators to take into account the impact of these vehicles during their operational lifetime in terms of energy consumption, CO2 emissions and other pollutant emissions.


The Directive applies to contracts for the purchase of road transport vehicles entered into by:

  • contracting authorities and contracting entities;
  • operators for the discharge of public service obligations under a public service contract.

Purchase of clean and energy-efficient road transport vehicles

Member States shall ensure that contracting authorities, contracting entities and operators under a public service contract take into account the operational lifetime energy and environmental impacts when purchasing road transport vehicles.

Energy and environmental impacts include:

  • energy consumption;
  • emissions of CO2;
  • emissions of NOx, NMHC and particulate matter.

In order to fulfil this requirement to take into account the environmental impact of vehicles, contracting authorities, contracting entities and operators of public transport services can choose to set technical specifications for energy and environmental performance in the documentation established when the vehicle is purchased or to include energy and environmental impacts in the purchasing decision.

Methodology for the calculation of operational lifetime costs

The Directive provides for a methodology for calculation which monetises the cost of energy consumption, C02 emissions and pollutant emissions during a vehicle’s operational lifetime.

The operational lifetime cost of the energy consumption of a vehicle is calculated using the following method:

  • fuel consumption per kilometre is calculated in units of energy consumption per kilometre;
  • the calculation uses a single monetary value per unit of energy;
  • the operational lifetime cost of the energy consumption of a vehicle is calculated by multiplying the mileage already performed by energy consumption, and then by the cost per unit of energy.

The cost of CO2 emissions is calculated by multiplying the mileage already performed by CO2 emissions in kilograms per kilometre, and then by the cost per kilogram.

The cost of pollutant emissions is obtained by adding the costs related to emissions of NOx, HCNM and particulate matter.

Best practice exchange

The Commission must encourage exchange of knowledge and best practice between Member States with regard to promoting the purchase of clean and energy-efficient road transport vehicles.


Greenhouse gas emissions and the pollution due to transport are among the main obstacles to sustainable development, as identified by the Gothenburg European Council of 15 and 16 June 2001. Efforts must be made in this sector in order to implement the 2020 targets for energy efficiency, the use of renewable energy and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The promotion and development of markets for cleaner, smarter, safer and energy-efficient vehicles represents one of the ways to meet these objectives.


Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Directive 2009/33/EC 4.6.2009 4.12.2010 OJ L 120 of 15.5.2009



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