New CO2 emission standards for cars and vans to reduce pollution and improve air quality

Clean mobility

The European Parliament recently agreed on CO2 emission standards for new cars and vans in the EU for the period after 2020 – a significant step towards decarbonising and modernising the European mobility sector and put the EU on track to become climate neutral.

As a result of the new rules, in 2030, emissions from new cars will have to be 37.5% lower and emissions from new vans 31% lower, compared to 2021.

The new CO2 standards are part of the clean mobility package and a stepping stone towards a modernised, and more competitive European transport sector, and the road towards a climate-neutral economy in line with the EU’s commitments under the Paris Agreement. The new rules contribute to implementing the Juncker Commission priority of a resilient Energy Union and a forward-looking climate change policy.

“Today’s vote sends a very clear message: mobility and the transport sector have a crucial role to play in Europe’s transition towards a climate-neutral economy. The new targets and incentives will help EU industry embrace innovation towards zero-emission mobility and further strengthen its global leadership in clean vehicles. At the same time, the gradual transition will allow sufficient time for reskilling and upskilling of workers, so that no-one is left behind in this transition. Consumers will save money at the pump, and cleaner cars also mean less pollution and cleaner air for all Europeans,” Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete said.

  • New CO2 emission standards for passenger cars and light commercial vehicles (vans) in the EU for the period after 2020. In 2030, emissions from new cars will have to be 37.5% lower and emissions from new vans 31% lower, compared to 2021.
  • Technology-neutral incentive mechanism for zero- and low-emission vehicles to give the market a clear signal for investment in clean vehicles. The incentive covers both zero-emission vehicles, such as battery electric or fuel cell vehicles, and low-emission vehicles having tailpipe emissions of less than 50 g CO2 per km – these are mainly plug-in hybrid vehicles equipped with both a conventional and an electric engine.
  • A strengthened market surveillance system to ensure the representativeness of the official test procedure for determining the emissions with respect to real-world driving, and the extent to which the vehicles placed on the market conform to the reference vehicles tested at type approval.
  • Several elements aimed at supporting cost-effective implementation of the CO2 targets, such as rules on the use of eco-innovation technologies and derogations for small manufacturers.


Next steps

Following this approval by the European Parliament, the Council of Ministers will finalise the formal adoption. This endorsement will be followed by the publication of the texts in the Official Journal of the Union, and the new legislation will enter into force 20 days after publication.

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