Press Release

‘Euro 7’ deal to freeze air pollution limits shows that the car lobby is back

December 18, 2023

New cars would be almost no cleaner than under the Euro 6 standard agreed in 2014.

EU lawmakers have agreed to leave limits on toxic NOx and the mass of particles emitted from new cars untouched. Transport & Environment (T&E) called on the European Parliament to reject the deal which would allow carmakers to greenwash new vehicles as ‘Euro 7’ despite being virtually no cleaner than under the ‘Euro 6’ standard agreed in 2014. 

The new Euro 7 standard would keep the existing Euro 6 NOx limits – 60 milligrams per km for petrol cars and 80 mg/km for diesel cars – under the agreement reached between EU governments and MEPs. Today’s setback saw lawmakers ditch the 60 mg/km limit for diesel cars proposed by the European Commission. 

Lucien Mathieu, cars director at T&E, said: “The car lobby is back in control after a few years in the wilderness following Dieselgate. The Euro 7 standard agreed by lawmakers will allow car companies to greenwash vehicles that are virtually no cleaner. The European Parliament has a final chance to say no to this shameless capitulation to the auto industry.”

In the only improvement on car tailpipe emissions compared to Euro 6, lawmakers agreed to count smaller particles than under the existing law. But limits on the emissions of NOx, carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons and the mass of particulate matter remain unchanged. 

Carmakers typically use the ‘Euro’ air pollution standard to market their vehicles to consumers as ‘clean’, while regulators often rely on the standards to decide which cars can freely access low-emission zones and pay lower rates of vehicle tax. 

Last month major European newspapers reported how the car industry mounted a lobbying campaign based on misinformation to weaken the original plans for Euro 7 that would have prevented 35,000 premature deaths. The law will set legal limits for nearly 100 million petrol and diesel cars that will be sold in Europe after 2025, when it is supposed to come into force. T&E is warning that citizens’ health will suffer for decades as a result of the watering down of the rules for emissions from cars, vans, buses and trucks. 

Today’s agreement must still be voted on by the European Parliament and by Environment Ministers before entering into force.

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