Euro 1 to Euro 6 guide – find out your vehicle's emissions standard

Euro 1 to Euro 6 guide – find out your vehicle's emissions standard
Minimum European standards for exhaust emissions were launched in 1992, when the European Union introduced strict regulations on new cars, with the aim of improving air quality - meaning a vehicle must meet a relevant Euro emissions standard when it is made.

Euro emission standards have evolved over the years, and as of 2024, they do not yet include non-exhaust emissions – including particulates from brakes and tyres. However, this is being considered for Euro 7, which will be introduced in July 2025.

Euro 6 is the latest exhaust emission standard for new cars and it is a minimum requirement for diesel vehicles in a number of clean air zones, including the London ULEZ. Introduced in 2014, Euro 6 has four different versions. The latest update of this regulation – Euro 6d - was made a requirement for emissions standards in January 2021.

Read on for our Euro emissions checker and to find out if your vehicle will be affected by the European emissions standards. 

What are the European 'Euro' emissions standards?

Although emissions regulations date back to 1970, the first EU-wide standard – known as Euro 1 – wasn’t introduced until 1992, which saw catalytic converters became compulsory on new cars, effectively standardising fuel injection. 

Since then, there have been a series of Euro emissions standards, leading to the current Euro 6, introduced in September 2014 for new type approvals and rolled out for the majority of vehicle sales and registrations in September 2015.

The regulations, which are designed to become more stringent over time, define acceptable limits for exhaust emissions of new light duty vehicles sold in EU and EEA (European Economic Area) member states.

Within the European Union (EU), transport contributes to 20% of the C02 emissions – the standards aim is to reduce this.

Why do we have Euro emissions standards?

Euro emissions standards explained

 

Additionally, the EU has said that “the air pollutant emissions from transport are a significant contribution to the overall state of air quality in Europe”, with industry and power generation being the other major sources.

The aim of Euro emissions standards is to reduce the levels of harmful exhaust emissions, chiefly:

  • Nitrogen oxides (NOx)
  • Carbon monoxide (CO) 
  • Hydrocarbons (HC)
  • (Particulate matter (PM)

These standards are having a positive effect, with the SMMT (Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders), claiming: “It would take 50 new cars today to produce the same amount of pollutant emissions as one vehicle built in the 1970s.”

In 2017, the SMMT quoted the following figures in support:

  • Carbon monoxide (CO): petrol down 63%, diesel down 82% since 1993
  • Hydrocarbons (HC): petrol down 50% since 2001
  • Nitrogen oxide (NOx): down 84% since 2001
  • Particulate matter (PM): diesel down 96% since 1993

Because petrol and diesel engines produce different types of emissions they are subject to different standards. Diesel, for example, produces more particulate matter – or soot – leading to the introduction of diesel particulate filters (DPFs).

The EU has pointed out, however, that NOx emissions from road transport “have not been reduced as much as expected…because emissions in ‘real-world’ driving conditions are often higher than those measured during the approval test (in particular for diesel vehicles)”.

According to Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) stats from 2018, transport still accounted for 33% of all carbon dioxide emissions, with most of this coming from road transport. 

However, BEIS estimates current emissions from road transport have fallen back by around 8.5% over the last decade to levels last seen in 1990, having previously peaked in 2007.

Brilliant breakdown + serious savings

Brilliant breakdown + serious savings

RAC Breakdown cover from just £7 a month*. Plus FREE Battery Replace!^  

*New, single vehicle-based cover. £7 a month for Basic cover. ^For 1 nominated vehicle when added to Extra or Complete cover. New customers only. Ends 26/02/24, 7am.

Brilliant breakdown + serious savings

Euro emissions engine checker

You can find your vehicle’s engine Euro emission rating on your V5C logbook. This important document will usually tell you what the official Euro emission rating of your car or van is. It is sometimes listed on the bottom of page two of the document, titled ‘Exhaust Emissions’.

You can also check your car's Euro emission rating with the table below. It is reproduced from the standards set out by the European Commission and acts as a guide to show how the different Euro emissions categories are applied to new vehicle models approved after a specific date. 

Every car sold up to a year after the dates below should conform to the appropriate standards, but check with your manufacturer directly as some cars bought after the implementation date may still have the previous Euro standard. 

If your vehicle is older than any dates listed below, it won't have a Euro emissions standard, meaning you may be banned entirely from entering some towns and cities at certain times.

What Euro emissions standard is my car?

My car newly registered from:Emissions standard
31 December 1992Euro 1
1 January 1997Euro 2
1 January 2001Euro 3
1 January 2006Euro 4
1 January 2011Euro 5
1 September 2015 - but see important note belowEuro 6
The table is a guide, and it is recommended you contact the vehicle manufacturer to check your car’s standard is if you are unsure.

Clean Air Zone vehicle checker

The Government’s Joint Air Quality Unit have an online vehicle checker to help drivers prepare for Clean Air Zones.

Just enter your vehicle’s registration number and this free tool will tell you if there will be a daily charge to drive your vehicle in a specific Clean Air Zone. More cities will be added as final plans become approved.

The UK also has a number clean air zones that includes London, Birmingham and Bristol

Why do I need to know my car’s Euro emission standard?

For UK drivers, the standards are vital to the government’s strategy – called the Road to Zero – to support the transition to zero emission road transport, which includes a ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2035 and a complete ban by 2050.

As part of this, some authorities across the UK are considering implementing low-emission zones, following the example of London, which increased emissions restrictions by establishing the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in April 2019.

It has also kickstarted the electric car revolution, where an increased number of drivers are making the switch to an EV. 

What is the emissions standard for the London ULEZ?

London’s ULEZ restricts vehicles based on their Euro emissions standards, with those that do not meet the standard required to pay a toll.

As of September 2022, the minimum emissions standards are Euro 4 for petrol vehicles and Euro 6 for diesels. The daily ULEZ charge is £12.50, although annual discounts are available.

It was also announced earlier this year, that the zone would be expanded to cover the whole of Greater London.

For more information on what ULEZ charges your vehicle will face, see Transport for London’s guide.

What is the emissions standard for France?

Knowing your car’s emissions standard is even more important if you’re planning on driving across Europe. Several cities and regions across Europe have low-emission zones, and these zones use Euro standards to regulate them.

In France, these regulations are called the Crit’Air system, a multi-category system that sees vehicles defined by their emissions through a coloured, numbered sticker on their windscreen. 

Cities, including Paris, have a permanent low-emission zone in place which restricts entry of the most polluting vehicles during certain times through the week.

Other areas have emergency zones in place, which see temporary restrictions introduced when air pollution is dangerously high. Entry is then based on the Crit’Air number displayed on each vehicle. 

For more information, read our guide to Crit’Air stickers.

Euro 6 and Euro 6 diesel

Implementation date (new approvals): 1 September 2014

Implementation date (most new registrations - see important point below table above): 1 September 2015

The sixth and current incarnation of the Euro emissions standard was introduced on most new registrations in September 2015. For diesels, the permitted level of NOx has been slashed from 0.18g/km in Euro 5 to 0.08g/km.

A focus on diesel NOx was the direct result of studies connecting these emissions with respiratory problems.

To meet the new targets, some carmakers have introduced Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR), in which a liquid-reductant agent is injected through a catalyst into the exhaust of a diesel vehicle. A chemical reaction converts the nitrogen oxide into harmless water and nitrogen, which are expelled through the exhaust pipe.

The alternative method of meeting Euro 6 standards is Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR). A portion of the exhaust gas is mixed with intake air to lower the burning temperature. The vehicle’s ECU controls the EGR in accordance with the engine load or speed.

Euro 6 emissions standards (petrol)

CO: 1.0g/km
THC: 0.10g/km
NMHC: 0.068g/km
NOx: 0.06g/km
PM: 0.005g/km (direct injection only)
PN [#/km]: 6.0x10 ^11/km (direct injection only)

Euro 6 emissions standards (diesel)

CO: 0.50g/km
HC + NOx: 0.17g/km
NOx: 0.08g/km
PM: 0.005g/km
PN [#/km]: 6.0x10 ^11/km

The standards were updated to include newer versions of vehicles impacted by the levels of emissions.

On 1 January 2020, the European Commission announced that Regulation (EU) 2019/631 entered into force, setting CO2 emission performance standards for new passenger cars and vans. It replaced and repealed the former Regulations for cars and vans individually. As the new target started applying in 2020, the average CO2 emissions from new passenger cars registered in Europe have decreased by 12%.

There was then a further development a year in July 2021, where new proposals were introduced to help the EU reach its climate neutrality goals by 2050 – and a net reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

Further announcements are expected in November 2022.

Euro 5

Implementation date (new approvals): 1 September 2009

Implementation date (all new registrations): 1 January 2011 

The big news for Euro 5 was the introduction of particulate filters (DPFs) for diesel vehicles, along with lower limits across the board. For type approvals from September 2011 and new cars from January 2013, diesel vehicles were subject to a new limit on particulate numbers. DPFs capture 99% of all particulate matter and are fitted to every new diesel car. Cars meeting Euro 5 standards emit the equivalent of one grain of sand per kilometre driven.

Euro 5 emissions standards (petrol) 

CO: 1.0g/km
THC: 0.10g/km
NMHC: 0.068g/km
NOx: 0.06g/km
PM: 0.005g/km (direct injection only)

Euro 5 emissions standards (diesel)

CO: 0.50g/km
HC + NOx: 0.23g/km
NOx: 0.18g/km
PM: 0.005g/km
PN [#/km]: 6.0x10 ^11/km

Euro 4 (EC2005)

Implementation date (new approvals): 1 January 2005

Implementation date (all new registrations): 1 January 2006

Euro 4 emissions standards (petrol)

CO: 1.0g/km
THC: 0.10g/km
NOx: 0.08g/km

Euro 4 emissions standards (diesel)

CO: 0.50g/km
HC + NOx: 0.30g/km
NOx: 0.25g/km
PM: 0.025g/km

Euro 3 (EC2000)

Implementation date (new approvals): 1 January 2000

Implementation date (all new registrations): 1 January 2001 

Euro 3 split the hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxide limits for petrol and diesel engines, as well as adding a separate nitrogen oxide limit for diesel vehicles. The warm-up period was removed from the test procedure.

Euro 3 emissions standards (petrol)

CO: 2.3g/km
THC: 0.20g/km
NOx: 0.15g/km

Euro 3 emissions standards (diesel)

CO: 0.66g/km
HC + NOx: 0.56g/km
NOx: 0.50g/km
PM: 0.05g/km

Euro 2 (EC96)

Implementation date (new approvals): 1 January 1996

Implementation date (all new registrations): 1 January 1997 

Euro 2 reduced the limits for carbon monoxide and the combined limit for unburned hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxide, as well as introducing different levels for petrol and diesel engines.

Euro 2 emissions standards (petrol)

CO: 2.2g/km
HC + NOx: 0.5g/km

Euro 2 emissions standards (diesel)

CO: 1.0g/km
HC + NOx: 0.7g/km
PM: 0.08g/km

Euro 1 (EC93)

Implementation date (new approvals): 1 July 1992

Implementation date (all new registrations): 31 December 1992 

The first Europe-wide euro emissions standards were introduced in July 1992 and the regulations weren’t anywhere near as stringent as they are today.

That said, the fitment of catalytic converters became compulsory on all new cars, and Euro 1 required the switch to unleaded petrol. Back then, only hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxide were tested, along with particulate matter in the case of diesel engines.

Over the years, the regulations have become stricter, and the limits lowered.

Euro 1 emissions standards (petrol)

CO: 2.72g/km
HC + NOx: 0.97g/km

Euro 1 emissions standards (diesel)

CO: 2.72g/km
HC + NOx: 0.97g/km
PM: 0.14g/km

What's next for Euro emissions standards?

While Euro standards have ensured a reduction in vehicle emissions, the so-called ‘dieselgate’ scandal highlighted that there’s still work to be done, not least because carmakers felt the need to ‘cheat’ to meet the stringent standards.

In 2017, the EU introduced a ‘Real Driving Emissions’ (RDE) test. It’s hoped this will better reflect actual emissions on the road, reducing the discrepancy between real-world emissions and those measured in a laboratory.

Euro 7 emissions – what do we know so far?

A new standard for exhaust emissions is on the way, with it likely coming into force in July 2025. However, with it being delayed twice and the industry suffering from a difficult year, what can we expect to be announced?

Euro 7 is expected to be the final iteration of this type of legislation for new vehicle, as Europe looks to end the sale of new diesel and petrol vehicles in the years ahead.

And although very few details have been announced, it is expected to be the simplest revision yet – with reports stating that it will broadly be similar to the current regulations seen in Euro 6.

These include stricter C02 and N0 levels in new vehicles – with a new test introduced to check for limits of these greenhouse gases.

There have also been reports that we could see the introduction of ‘real world emissions monitoring’ to ensure cars meet the necessary requirements.

Does my car’s Euro standard affect my MOT?

In the words of the Government: “You cannot get an MOT certificate if your vehicle’s exhaust emissions are too high.”

Following the introduction of new rules in May 2018, the MOT test now includes stricter requirements surrounding emissions. 

Any car that has been fitted with a diesel particulate filter (DPF) (a requirement for all Euro 5 and 6 diesels) that gives out "visible smoke of any colour" during testing will get a major fault – an automatic fail.

It will also fail if the MOT tester finds evidence that the DPF has been tampered with. Read more on the new MOT rules.

Motorbike Euro emission standards

Motorbike Euro emissions standards

 

The Euro emissions standards for motorbikes are slightly different from cars, with fewer new standards having been introduced over the years (due to motorbikes emitting less emissions than cars and other larger vehicles do).

Currently Euro 5 emission standards apply to the sale of two and three-wheeled vehicles – following an update from the Commission in 2020.

The implementation of emission standards for motorbikes is also a little more complicated than the standards for cars.

Motorbike emission regulations for Euro 1 to 3

Emissions standardClassType approval dateFirst registration dates
Euro 1Mopeds, motorcycles and tricycles17 June 1999
Euro 2Mopeds17 June 2002
Euro 2Three-wheelers1 January 20031 July 2004
Euro 2Motorcycles1 April 20041 July 2005
Euro 3Motorcycles1 January 20061 July 2007

Motorbike emission regulations for Euro 4 and 5

StandardClassNew types of vehicles enforcement datesExisting types of vehicles enforcement datesLast date of registration enforcement dates
Euro 4Powered cycle, two-wheel moped, three-wheel moped, light on-road quad, light quadrimobile1 January 20171 January 201831 December 2020
Euro 4Two-wheel motorcycle w/ & w/o sidecar, tricycle, heavy on-road quad, commercial tricycle, heavy all terrain quad, heavy quadrimobile1 January 20161 January 201731 December 2020
Euro 5All classes1 January 20201 January 2021-

Euro emissions frequently asked questions

  • What does Euro 5 emissions mean?

    Since 1992, new cars in the EU have been categorised by the emissions they produce, starting with Euro 1 all the way up to the current category, Euro 6.

    Euro 5 emissions standard became a requirement for all new approvals from 1 September 2009 and all new registrations from 1 January 2011, and comes with certain restrictions. For example, Euro 5 petrol cars are currently able to enter the London ULEZ (as of July 2019), but Euro 5 diesels will be subject to charges.

  • What is a Euro 4 engine?

    Since 1992, new cars in the EU have been categorised by the emissions they produce, starting with Euro 1 all the way up to the current category, Euro 6.

    Euro 4 emissions standard became a requirement for all new approvals from 1 January 2005 and all new registrations from 1 January 2006, and an engine registered as Euro 4 comes with certain restrictions. For example, Euro 4 petrol cars are currently able to enter the London ULEZ (as of July 2019), but Euro 4 diesels will be subject to charges.

  • Is my car Euro 6?

    The implementation date for Euro 6 was September 2014 (new approvals) and September 2015 (most new registrations), so if your car was registered after this date it’s likely it’s Euro 6.

    However, there are some discrepancies in terms of dates around the implementation date, which could mean your car is actually Euro 5, so check with your manufacturer to be sure.

  • Will Euro 6 diesels be banned?

    Currently, this largely depends on local and city authorities. Following a ruling by European judges in December 2018, authorities are able to ban the “cleaner” Euro 6 diesel vehicles from entering their cities, including Madrid, Paris and Brussels.

    There are currently no plans to ban Euro 6 diesels from any UK towns and cities, although this may change in the future.

  • How can I reduce my emissions?

    If you’re looking to do your bit for the environment, there are a number of ways you can reduce your emissions, from changing the fuel you use to simply leaving the car at home once in a while. For more information, read our guide to cutting your emissions.

  • How long will Euro 6 last?

    There are currently no plans announced to replace Euro 6 with a more stringent Euro 7 category of emissions standards. However, in April 2019 the European Parliament and Council adopted new regulations setting CO2 emission performance standards for new passenger cars and vans, which will start applying from 1 January 2020.

  • Will there be a Euro 7?

    That remains to be seen. It’s possible the EU will seek to introduce a new standard for all new car emissions in addition to the new regulations on CO2 emission performance standards, although there are currently no plans in place to do this.

  • Does Euro 4 have DPF?

    Diesel particle filters (DPFs) have been fitted as standard on all Euro 5 vehicles, which were introduced in 2010. However, before this, DPFs were also fitted on some Euro 4 vehicles as well, so check with your manufacturer if you’re unsure if your vehicle has one.

  • Can a Euro 6 car be diesel?

    Most new cars registered after September 2015 will meet Euro 6 standards, so if your diesel car was made after this date, then it should meet the Euro emissions standards.

    You can theoretically modify your diesel to be Euro 6 compliant through retrofitting. Retrofitting is the process of installing emission control technologies into your vehicle, reducing harmful gasses and bringing it in line with Euro 6 standards.

    Retrofitting your Euro 5 car to Euro 6 is very expensive and may not be economically viable for some vehicles. It’s also important to note that some clean air zone operators may not grant a clean air zone exemption to a car that’s ben retrofitted to Euro 6 standards.

*Price for 1 day cover for up to 9 people travelling in a vehicle up to 1 year old in Zone 1.
RAC European Breakdown cover arranged and administered by RAC Financial Services Limited (Registered No 05171817) and provided by RAC Insurance Ltd (Registered No 2355834). Registered in England; Registered Offices: RAC House, Brockhurst Crescent, Walsall WS5 4AW. RAC Financial Services Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in respect of insurance mediation activities. RAC Insurance Ltd is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

Is it illegal to drive without shoes?

Get the answer and more useful driving content sent straight to your inbox.

Is it illegal to drive without shoes?
Is it illegal to drive without shoes?

Euro Emissions Standards FAQ

  • Is Euro 5 OK for ULEZ?

    In the context of the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in London, Euro 5 vehicles are generally given the “OK” to enter without having to pay a daily fee. This is because Euro 5 vehicles are considered to be relatively low emitters and therefore compliant with the ULEZ standards. However, Euro 5 vehicles that do not meet the Euro 6 standards for nitrogen oxides (NOx) will be subject to a daily fee.

  • How do you know if your car is Euro 4?

    The easiest way to tell if your car is Euro 4 compliant is to check your car owner’s manual. Also, your vehicle will most likely be compliant if it was made after January 2005. Finally, check the Vehicle Certification Agency official website and search your make, model and registration number.

  • Is Euro 4 allowed in Europe?

    You are allowed to drive Euro 4 emission standard vehicles in Europe. There may be charge to drive in ULEZs in major cities.

  • Is Euro 4 allowed in London?

    Yes, all Euro 4 vehicles can be driven in London. However, they will incur the £12.50 daily ULEZ charge if they are driven in the relevant zones.

  • Can I still drive in the EU?

    Following Brexit, you can still drive your vehicles in Europe - but they must have a UK sticker, rather than a GB one. If you enter ULEZ areas, you may have to pay a charge.

  • How can I check the Euro emission of my car?

    In order to check the Euro emission of my your car, you will need to visit the official Vehicle Certification Agency website and enter the relevant details.

  • Is Euro 5 and BS6 same?

    No, Euro 5 and BS6 are not the same. Euro 5 is a European emissions standard for light-duty vehicles, while BS6 is an Indian emissions standard for light-duty vehicles. Both standards are designed to reduce emissions from vehicles and help improve air quality, but there are some differences between them.

    Euro 5 is a more stringent emissions standard, requiring vehicles to have lower emissions of nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, and other pollutants. Euro 5 also requires the use of advanced technologies such as selective catalytic reduction and diesel particulate filters to meet its emissions limits.

    BS6 is the latest and most stringent emissions standard in India. It requires vehicles to have lower emissions of nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, and other pollutants. It also requires the use of advanced technologies such as diesel particulate filters, lean NOx traps, and catalytic converters to meet its emissions limits.