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Euro 1 to Euro 6: how clean is my car?

All new cars must comply with European exhaust emissions standards, so what is the latest standard and what does it mean for you?

Words ByClaire Evans

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The first European standard for exhaust emissions was introduced in 1992. Since then, a further five set of standards have followed with the ongoing aim of improving air quality across the European Union (EU).

Here we look at all of the the Euro emissions standards, from Euro 1 to Euro 6, and explain the limits they impose on various harmful emissions.

Why were the Euro emissions standards introduced?

The first European legislation on exhaust emissions was introduced in 1970, but the first European-wide standard, called Euro 1, didn’t arrive until 1992. It applies to all new cars given EU type approval from July 1992, and all new cars first registered from January 1993.

This legislation coincided with the compulsory introduction of catalytic converters for petrol-engined cars to reduce their carbon monoxide (CO) emissions. It set limits for the tail-pipe emissions from cars and light commercial vehicles (LCVs) - such as vans and pick-up trucks - with respect to four main emissions:

Carbon monoxide (CO)

Hydrocarbons (HC)

Nitrogen oxides (NOx)

Particulate matter (PM)

Euro 1 (EC93)

Applies to all new cars registered from 1 January 1993

Benefits: The Euro 1 standard heralded the introduction of catalytic converters and unleaded petrol for all cars.

Euro 1 emissions limits (petrol) CO: 2.72g/km HC + NOx: 0.97g/km

Euro 1 emissions limits (diesel) CO: 2.72g/km HC + NOx: 0.97g/km PM: 0.14g/km


Euro 2 (EC96)

Applies to all new cars registered from 1 January 1997

Benefits: Euro 2 standards introduced different emissions limits for petrol and diesel engines and reduced the acceptable levels of all four major emissions across the board.

Euro 2 emissions limits (petrol) CO: 2. 20g/km HC + NOx: 0.50g/km

Euro 2 emissions limits (diesel) CO: 1.00g/km HC + NOx: 0.70g/km PM: 0.08g/km

Read more - Diesel cars to be charged more for driving in London

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