Press release

Proposed Euro 7 emission limits could prevent over 7,200 deaths in Europe by 2050

The European Commission’s proposed Euro 7 emission limits for gasoline and diesel cars, vans, trucks, and buses aim to reduce air pollution and protect people’s health. A new study by the International Clean Transportation (ICCT) shows that the regulation could avoid 7,200 premature deaths linked to nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions in Europe by 2050.

Europe ranks third globally in transportation-attributable air pollution deaths after China and India.[1] These premature deaths are primarily linked to NOx, a harmful pollutant emitted by internal combustion vehicles. The shift to electric vehicles will reduce this burden on public health, but around 61 million gasoline and diesel vehicles will still be sold in the EU until 2050. The Euro 7 standards will be the last regulation to set legal emission limits for these engines.

Euro 7 holds the promise of saving many lives without requiring a large technological transformation. The existing emission control systems on the market can significantly reduce air pollution from the last generations of gasoline and diesel cars and trucks. The majority of the benefits stem from trucks. The proposed emission limits for heavy-duty vehicles have strong ambition behind them and would significantly reduce ambient concentrations of NOx,” says Dr Eamonn Mulholland, ICCT’s researcher. 

The investigation by the non-profit research organization ICCT examines three scenarios to evaluate the impact of the proposed air pollution regulation on emission reductions and public health. The regulation is now under discussion in the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union, facing opposition from certain political groups and eight Member States in the Council of the European Union.

The first scenario considers the current proposal by the European Commission. If implemented, it could prevent around 1 million tonnes of NOx emissions, with 77% of the reductions coming from trucks and buses.

The second scenario explores a delayed implementation of Euro 7. The Rapporteur of the European Conservatives and Reformists in the Parliament’s Environment Committee proposed to enforce Euro 7 emission standards for cars and vans three years after the entry into force of the regulation and five years after for trucks and buses. Assuming Euro 7 standards are adopted in 2024, this proposal would see the standards taking effect in 2027 for LDVs and 2029 for HDVs. The study demonstrates that such a delay would lead to approximately 1,800 additional premature deaths compared to the European Commission’s proposal.

“The later Euro 7 is implemented, the fewer vehicles it will affect. With cars and vans having average lifetimes of 18 years, and trucks and buses lasting around 20 years, each year of delay adds substantial NOx emissions to the air we breathe, which becomes a serious penalty on people’s health,” remarks Jan Dornoff, a senior researcher at the ICCT.

The third, more stringent scenario models a previous Euro 7 recommendation from the Commission’s impact assessment. According to the results, this more stringent option could avoid up to 9,900 premature deaths by 2050.

All scenarios account for the effect of the eventual phase-down of diesel and gasoline vehicle registrations for cars, vans, trucks, and buses planned under the EU’s CO2 standards. If adopted as proposed, Euro 7 standards will be introduced in 2025 for light-duty vehicles, impacting around 58 million new cars sold through 2035. For heavy-duty vehicles, Euro 7 will start to take effect in 2027, affecting a projected 3 million new trucks and buses that will be sold through 2050.

[1] See The global burden of transportation tailpipe emissions on air pollution-related mortality in 2010 and 2015

Media contact
Susana Irles,
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Publication details
Title: Emission reductions and public health benefits from timely Euro 7 standards
Authors: Nicole Egerstrom, Eamonn Mulholland, Jan Dornoff, Josh Miller, Felipe Rodríguez

About the International Council on Clean Transportation

The International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) is an independent research organization providing first-rate, unbiased research and technical and scientific analysis to environmental regulators. Our mission is to improve the environmental performance and energy efficiency of road, marine, and air transportation, in order to benefit public health and mitigate climate change. Founded in 2001, we are a nonprofit organization working under grants and contracts from private foundations and public institutions.

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