21 December 1998

European Union environment ministers met today in Brussels to discuss, among other issues, emission standards from heavy-duty diesel engines. According to press reports, the ministers reached an agreement on the proposed Euro III standard.

The Euro III regulation requires cutting emissions of carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides and particulates from new truck and bus engines by approximately a third starting in the year 2000.

The ministers also proposed Euro IV emission standards, which would bring emissions down to about half of today's levels in the year 2005, as well as on a third stage of cuts for NOx which would come into effect in 2008.

NOx emissions must be reduced to 5 g/kWh effective 2000, and to 3.5 g/kWh effective 2005. The NOx standard will be reviewed in 2002 and, if technically feasible, will be further reduced to 2.8 g/kWh in 2008.

The standards still have to be approved by the European Parliament before they will take effect.

Under the agreement, heavy duty diesel engines will have to be equipped with on-board system for monitoring emissions. The 15 EU governments will be allowed to introduce tax incentives for vehicles which meet the new standards before they become compulsory.

In a separate agreement, the ministers introduced measures to encourage consumers to buy fuel efficient cars. These measures are aimed at reducing emissions of carbon dioxide, a powerful greenhouse gas.

EU heavy-duty engine emission standards