Now that London is getting used to the Ultra-Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ), there’s still a lot of confusion when it comes to emission standards. With the world’s focus on the environment, keeping toxic nitrous oxide levels down is all part of the UK’s plan to improve air quality.
Since 1992, the Euro emissions standard has been imposed on all new models of cars. Knowing what category your vehicle comes under, whether a Euro 1 petrol or Euro 6 diesel has never been more critical.
So, how do you know if your car is Euro 6? Let’s find out:
Never before have vehicle emission limits been so tough! Since the EU laid out the original guidelines for reducing tailpipe exhaust fumes, the restrictions have become tighter over the years.
Euro 6 is the pinnacle of emissions technology – it produces the lowest amount of exhaust pollutants ever.
Nearly thirty years ago, catalytic converters became compulsory on new cars. Fuel injection became standardised as a result, and Euro 1 was born. Since then, the EU has been innovating and pushing the limits of emissions technology to get to the Euro 6 standard we see today.
Throughout the EU’s Euro scheme, innovative emissions technologies have seen NOx levels reduce by 84% since 2000. Since Euro 5 was launched, DPFs (Diesel Particulate Filters) have been fitted to every new diesel car. With DPFs capturing 99% of soot, air quality has never been cleaner.
Although Euro 6 became the standard post September 2015, there has been a steep rise in air quality throughout London since the ULEZ rolled out in April 2019.
“Road to Zero”
To combat rising levels of illnesses and living conditions affected by London’s air quality, the UK government launched the strategy “Road to Zero.” By 2040, sales of petrol and diesel cars will be banned, and by 2050, the aim is to have zero-emission road transport throughout the country.
Following the success of London’s ULEZ launch in April 2019, other areas of the UK are beginning to implement low-emission zones. The authorities in places like Glasgow plan to have their zones established by 2022.
It’s a bold plan, but as emissions have become the focal point of the world’s environmental focus, the UK is leading the way with the “Road to Zero” strategy.
Understanding emissions standards
Essentially, the Euro standards were introduced to combat the rising levels of harmful exhaust emissions. As you can imagine, toxic emissions aren’t just the bi-product of exhaust fumes. Industry and power generation are also high contributors. However, starting with the motor industry makes the most sense.
Euro emissions standards reduce the following:
- Nitrogen oxides (NOx)
- Carbon monoxide (CO)
- Hydrocarbons (HC)
- Particular matter (PM)
Petrol and diesel-fueled vehicles produce different emissions. So measuring NOx emissions from transport is not as simple as you might think. With the likes of DPFs being installed on diesel cars to reduce particular matter or soot from being released, emissions are decreasing.
Already, air quality has improved worldwide. However, it is still not perfect. Aiming for a zero-emission standard like Euro 6 will drastically improve quality of life, and build a brighter, cleaner future for the next generation.
What is my car’s emissions status?
The information below is reproduced from the European Commission’s guide on what the different Euro emission categories are. It applies to the new vehicle model and registration date. See below:
- Euro 1: 31st December 1992
- Euro 2: 1st January 1997
- Euro 3: 1st January 2001
- Euro 4: 1st January 2006
- Euro 5: 1st January 2011
- Euro 6: 1st September 2015
Be sure to check your vehicle’s manufacture handbook for your car’s registration details. New model cars registered just before the Euro 6 bracket, may still be classed as Euro 5.
If your vehicle is older than the registration dates above, check your area’s guidelines on if your car is allowed to enter low-emission zones. Some military, agricultural and historical vehicles are offered special circumstances and exemptions.
Am I exempt from the ULEZ?
If your vehicle is a Euro 4 petrol or Euro 6 standard diesel-fueled car, you are currently exempt from paying the ULEZ daily charge.
Drivers that do not meet the Euro and ULEZ emissions standards will have to pay the £12.50 daily tariff to travel within the zone.
Use our helpful ULEZ checker to see if your vehicle meets the standards.
Thinking of upgrading your car or van to a ULEZ compliant one? Take a look at our helpful guides to get the most out of your inner-city driving.