Content updated 21 February 2023.

Revision of legislation and new standards for light-  and heavy-duty vehicles

In October 2022, an agreement was reached on ending sales of new combustion engine cars and vans by 2035. EU will become the largest economy to phase out sales of polluting vehicles.

The Commission also proposed the so-called Euro 7 emission standards, aiming to achieve new stricter air quality standards.

EU policies aim to reduce the adverse effects of transport by shifting to the least polluting and most efficient modes. Emissions are targeted in two ways: the improvement of energy efficiency and the increase of the share of renewable and low-carbon fuels.

Content updated 21 February 2023.

New combustion engine cars and vans

Passenger cars and vans ('light commercial vehicles') are respectively responsible for around 12% and 2.5% of total EU emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2).

From 2035, all new cars that come on the market should be zero-emission and are not allowed to emit any CO2. Intermediate emissions reduction targets for 2030 would be set at 55% for cars and 50% for vans (view more here; link to the eceee web page on cars and vans).

The new rules aim to encourage more competition and encourage manufacturers to invest in research and innovation into electric vehicles, which should drive the purchase price down.

Euro 7 emission standards

The proposed  Euro 7 emission standards aim to ensure that cars, vans, lorries and buses are much cleaner, in real driving conditions that better reflect the situation in cities where air pollution problems are largest, and for a much longer period than under current rules.

The proposal tackles emissions from tailpipes as well as from brakes and tyres. It also contributes to achieving new stricter air quality standards.

While CO2 emission rules will drive the deployment of zero-emission vehicles, it is important to ensure that all vehicles on our roads are much cleaner.  In 2035, Even though all cars and vans sold in the EU will have zero CO2-emissions in 2035, more than 20% of cars and vans and more than half of the heavier vehicles are expected to continue to emit pollutants from the tailpipe in 2050.

Battery electric vehicles also still cause pollution from brakes and microplastics from tyres. The Euro 7 rules aim to reduce all these emissions and keep vehicles affordable to consumers.

The proposal replaces and simplifies former separate emission rules for cars and vans (Euro 6) and lorries and buses (Euro VI) and sets rules for emission limits for all motor vehicles (cars, vans, buses and lorries) under a single set of rules.

The standards rules will be the first worldwide emission standards to move beyond regulating exhaust pipe emissions and set limits for emissions from brakes and microplastic emissions. They will also regulate the durability of batteries installed in cars and vans, reducing the need for new critical raw materials required to produce batteries