Euro 7 – A new emissions standard for clean mobility

by Dafina Marashi

Euro standards establish the maximum level of different emissions from a vehicle before it is “type approved” and allowed to be sold within the EU. In addition to danger warning lights, windshield wipers, or any other necessary elements in terms of safety, passenger vehicles must therefore adhere to environmental standards before going on sale. 

Since the introduction of ‘Euro 1’ in 1992, the EU has continued to gradually tighten its rules for a range of motor vehicles. Currently, the last reform proposal in sequence to be discussed is called ‘Euro 7’. 

The EU commission has made its proposal back in November 2022. The Members and the Parliament have to agree on the rules before they come into force. As of now, the regulations will apply to passenger cars and light commercial vehicles from July 2025, and from July 2027 for heavy commercial vehicles. 

The Euro 7 standard aligns with the EU Green Deal’s goal of achieving zero-pollution by  eliminating water, air and soil pollution [1]. It aims to improve the health of people and ecosystems, while respecting planetary boundaries to ensure climate neutrality by 2050. At the same time, the Euro 7 shall contribute to better competitiveness in the automotive sector.

Requirements and objectives of the proposal

Euro 7 concerns exhaust gasses, brake and tire emissions, testing conditions, the duration of the compliance period for aging cars and the sustainability of electric vehicle (EV) batteries. The EV battery longevity, brake, and tire emissions are completely new requirements, including the regulation for exhaust gasses regardless of fuel type and technology. 

In a nutshell, the standard means that all new cars will have to comply with the same pollution standards. To approve motor vehicles, the Commission proposes widened real-driving emissions (RDE) testing and on-board monitoring (OBM) systems to continuously check emissions for cars in use.

Additionally, Euro 7 pursues three areas in its objectives, spanning environmental, social and economic domains:

  1. Member countries agree that good air quality is essential for environmental and citizen health. For example, in 2020 road transport accounted for 43% of total harmful NOx emissions [2]. NOx is a significant contributor to the formation of acid rain which causes damage to sensitive ecosystems such as forests, lakes, and coastal waters [3]. Many urban populations in the EU are exposed to high pollutant concentrations that surpass the recommended limits [4]. Such pollution is estimated to have caused more than 300.000 premature deaths in the EU-28 in 2018 [4].
  2. Industrial leadership shall be promoted by the new regulatory framework in the spirit of the New Industrial Strategy for Europe [5]. The commission seeks to give the EU car industry first mover advantage and legal clarity. To maintain a competitive advantage, emission rules must at the very least match norms in important markets like the United States and China. In this way, manufacturers can also safeguard access to markets by complying with stringent environmental standards in different regions.

Political contentions 

Much of the criticism towards the Euro 7 is voiced by manufacturers. However, some lawmakers have also expressed criticism regarding the proposed timeline for the application, testing conditions, as well as emissions limits [6].

In their draft opinion of the proposal, the EU committee on Industry, Research, and Energy (ITRE) recognises the challenges arising from global competition, the energy crisis and the provision of affordable mobility. 

ITRE considers Euro 7 to be too stringent and disregarding the industry’s usual production cycles. In other words, common lead times are around three years for cars and five years for heavy duty vehicles [6] which would be a very tight deadline with the planned effective dates (2025 and 2027 respectively) and would cause problems for smaller manufacturers. Similarly, drastically changing Euro 6 testing regulations will pose a huge economic burden to the industry as it needs massive investments to design the appropriate emissions monitoring systems [6]. The EU industry association ACEA estimates that short introduction times could endanger up to 300,000 jobs [7].

Furthermore, political and industrial representatives fear that the introduction of these new measures could cause automobiles to become unaffordable for consumers. There are different estimates for expected price increases; ACEA estimates the price of a new car will increase by €2,000 on average [8] and industry associations agree that higher prices could disproportionately affect smaller models and eventually lead to their discontinuation. Such development would be regrettable both socially and ecologically. 

From an environmental perspective, the proposal demands intensive technological development which is not worthwhile when one considers that internal combustion engines are to be phased out by 2035 [9]. Investments and the expansion of production capacities for converting models so they comply with Euro 7 could instead be dedicated to further expanding e-mobility. Considering this, some advocate for a focus on tire and brake emissions that apply to EVs as well.

The Commission acknowledged the convergence of the institutions regarding a postponement of the application deadline and emphasized that the regulations will be harmonized with the global UN framework for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations (WP.29) [10].


[1] European Environment Agency, The European Commission’s zero pollution ambition,, accessed on 26.05.2023.
[2] European Environment Agency, Air pollutant emissions data viewer (Gothenburg Protocol, LRTAP Convention) 1990-2020,, accessed on 26.05.2023.
[3] United States Environmental Protection Agency, What is Acid Rain?,,and%20other%20materials%20before%20falling%20to%20the%20ground., accessed on 26.05.2023.
[4] European Environment Agency, Air quality in Europe 2021,,were%20attributed%20to%20exposure%20to%20ozone%20%28O%203%29, accessed 26.05.2023.
[6] European Parliament Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, Draft Opinion,, accessed on 26.05.2023.
[7] Tagesschau, Warum die neue Abgasnorm für Streit sorgt,, accessed on 26.05.2023.
[8] ACEA, Fact sheet #3 – Euro 7: Cheap or expensive?,, accessed on 26.05.2023.
[9] Germany backs fossil car phaseout, with tweak,, accessed on 26.05.2023[10] World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations (WP.29),, accessed on 26.05.2023.
    Categories EU - Current Affairs

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