Quantifying the long-term air quality and health benefits from Euro 7/VII standards in Europe
Air pollution poses a risk to human health at levels even below the emission limits established by the World Health Organization in Europe. This analysis models the emission reductions and the health benefits associated with the introduction of ambitious, yet feasible, Euro 7/VII standards, with an emphasis on attainable reductions in NOx in light-duty and heavy-duty vehicles.
The analysis found that Euro 7/VII standards will significantly accelerate the reduction in NOx emissions, achieving a 93% reduction in annual emissions by 2050 relative to 2027 (the assumed adoption year of Euro 7/VII standards) compared to a 74% reduction under currently adopted policies. In addition, cumulative NOx emissions over the 2027-2050 period will be reduced by 26% compared to currently adopted policies. Increasing the level of electrification further increases the reduction in emissions. If 100% sales shares of zero-emission vehicles for light-duty and heavy-duty vehicles are reached by 2035 and 2040, respectively, cumulative NOx emissions over the same period will be reduced by an additional 5% points. Implementing Euro 7/VII standards and excluding a high zero-emission vehicle uptake are shown to also realize greater emissions reductions and associated health benefits compared to our currently adopted policies including a high zero-emission vehicle uptake scenario.
The reductions in tailpipe NOx emissions from Euro 7/VII standards will improve air quality across the EU, reducing ambient PM2.5 and ozone concentrations. We project this reduction in emissions to prevent 35,000 premature deaths and avoid 568,000 years of life lost over the period 2027-2050. Increasing the ambition of zero-emission vehicle uptake can further increase the associated health benefits, increasing the total amount of prevented premature deaths to 42,000 and avoiding 682,000 years of life lost due to premature death over the same period.
Heavy-duty vehicles will benefit proportionately more from Euro 7/VII standards as even achieving 100% zero-emission vehicle sales by 2040, nearly a quarter of the heavy-duty stock will remain powered by an internal combustion engine powertrain by 2050. Compared to currently adopted policies, cumulative NOx emissions from heavy-duty vehicles over the 2027-2050 period are reduced by 37% under Euro 7/VII, compared to 20% for light-duty vehicles.