The stringency of the proposed Euro 7 regulation for cars and vans: An international comparison

Euro 7 standards aim to limit pollutant emissions from the next generation of combustion engine powered cars, vans, trucks, and buses in the EU. This briefing paper presents an international comparison of the stringency of the Euro 7 limits proposed for cars and vans with the rules applicable in the United States and China.

In November 2022, the European Commission unveiled its proposal for Euro 7, revising the current Euro 6 and Euro VI pollutant emissions standards for light- and heavy-duty vehicles. The proposed emission limits and testing procedures are less stringent than the recommendations of the impact assessment submitted to the European Commission, particularly in the case of light-duty vehicles. Regardless, the automotive industry and some EU Member States contend that the proposal is overly ambitious.

This briefing offers an international perspective to the discussion by comparing the stringency of the proposed emission limits and test conditions with their counterparts in the United States and China. With some preceding analyses, the author translated Euro 7, U.S. Tier 3 final, and China 6b emission limit values into comparable units for light-duty vehicles. This comparison shows the following:

  • The combined NOx+NMHC limit put forth by the European Commission for Euro 7 light-duty vehicles of 128 mg/km is 2.9 times weaker than the U.S. Tier 3 final limit. Unlike for Euro 7, the U.S. standards do not require emission compliance demonstration in real-driving tests. Instead, more demanding laboratory tests are performed.  
  • China 6b is more than 1.8 times more stringent for cars and 1.2 times more stringent for large vans than the Euro 7 proposal, with both regulations requiring emissions compliance demonstration in the laboratory and during real driving.  

The text concludes that the Euro 7 proposal does not tighten the emission limits to match those in the United States and China. The proposed Euro 7 regulation still includes important provisions that would lead to modest emission reductions. Still, for Euro 7 to successfully drive cost-effective technologies to the market, it is advisable to consider NOx emission limits akin to those found in other jurisdictions and to preserve all elements included in the Euro 7 proposal.

Emissions control
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