New EU standard must reduce vehicle pollution to lowest level feasible, say cities and civil society

June 15, 2022

Euro 7 is the last chance to slash toxic air pollution from engines, cities and NGOs have told the EU Commission in a letter.

Despite the proposed phase out of internal combustion engine cars in 2035 and the uptake of electric cars, a new Euro 7 standard is still relevant. That’s the message of civil society groups and cities – including Pars, London and Brussels – to six members of the European Commission today. In a letter they call on the commissioners to propose a standard that reduces pollution to the lowest levels that are technically feasible and closes all loopholes left behind from the Dieselgate era.

T&E forecasts that 95 million more combustion engine cars will be sold in Europe between 2025 and 2035, when Euro 7 is expected to enter into force while the take-up of zero emission trucks will take time. On average, these vehicles will remain on the road for more than a decade and much longer in Central, Eastern and Southern Europe, often in excess of 15 years. This means there is at least another quarter of a century of polluting vehicles on the EU’s roads.

A new Euro 7/VII standard is Europe’s last chance to slash toxic pollution from engines and it cannot be missed, the letter says. An ambitious Euro 7 could reduce total EU NOx emissions by 4.2 million tonnes by 2050 and avoid 35,000 premature deaths. Crucially large reductions in pollution are both technically and economically feasible. The Commission’s proposal must be a comprehensive revision of the outdated Euro 6/VI standard, reducing pollution to the lowest technically feasible levels and closing all loopholes left behind from the Dieselgate era.

They call on the European Commission to ensure that its proposal:

  1. Sets the lowest limits globally, based on best available technology. At a minimum this should be aligned with the most ambitious limit scenarios presented by CLOVE. Also, more ambition on cold start emissions.
  2. Regulates all relevant pollutants harmful to human health and the environment including ultra-fine, ammonia, nitrous oxide, methane,  and brake particles.
  3. Covers all driving conditions which can be encountered in Europe by ensuring emission limits apply wherever and whenever a car is driven.
  4. Ensures lifetime emission compliance and requires durability and in-service testing that covers the entire lifetime of vehicles across all member states.

The above should be on top of what has been proposed by the CLOVE Consortium setup to advise the Commission. The groups and cities say the standard needs to be introduced by 2025 at the latest. The letter is addressed to the EU Commission president and vice-president and the commissioners for industry, environment, transport and health.

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