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Public consultation on the future Euro VI Emission Limits

This consultation closed on 05.09.2007 and the results are available

Public consultation on the future Euro VI Emission Limits for Heavy Duty Vehicles



Existing Community legislation establishes the limit values applicable to control the pollutant emissions such as particulate matters or NOx from all heavy duty vehicles in the stages Euro IV (2006) and Euro V (2009). The objective of the proposal which is the subject of this consultation is to lay down harmonised rules for the next stage of emission limits (Euro VI) with a view to ensuring the functioning of the internal market while at the same time providing for a high level of environmental protection regarding atmospheric emissions.

Member States and their citizens are concerned about the risks to human health and the environment that results from air pollution. Although air quality has improved over the past decade, there are still significant air quality problems throughout the European Union, especially in urban areas and in densely populated regions.

The Thematic Strategy on Air Quality, within the framework of the CAFE (Clean Air For Europe) programme, states that further reductions on pollutant emissions from heavy duty vehicles are required to achieve the air quality objective for Europe in the year 2020. The Euro VI stage will have to be developed in this context, considering the cost and benefit of different levels of stringency.

According to the CAFE programme, the measures to be implemented in the Euro VI stage will mainly address the reduction of ozone precursors (NOx and HC) and particulate matter (PM).

The objective of the European Commission when launching this public consultation is to seek the public's views on the best way forward in the field of pollutant emissions from heavy duty vehicles.

Scenarios of the Regulatory approach

In order to introduce limit values in a future stage, the Commission services sent out a questionnaire to stakeholders on new Euro VI emission limits for heavy duty vehicles. The questionnaire developed a number of scenarios for new limit values and sought data on the technology that would be required to meet those values and the associated costs. An expert panel of independent consultants was engaged to review responses to the questionnaire. The aim was to assess and validate the stakeholder responses and reach a common position on the technology required and cost for each scenario.

According to the information provided, a number of scenarios, combining different levels of PM, NOx and HC emissions for compression ignition engines (CI) and positive ignition (PI) engines fuelled with gas (natural gas or liquefied petroleum gas), have been developed as described in the following table.

1) To be applicable to vehicles using SCR (Selective Catalytic Reduction) after-treatment technology

2) Engines fuelled with diesel and ethanol

3) Engines fuelled with natural gas (NG) and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG)

4) Anticipated additional CO2 emissions resulting from the various scenarios

The columns indicating limit values for positive ignition (PI) engines have been introduced because these will be needed for gas powered vehicles. In fact, gas fuelled buses currently represent around 1% of the buses on the EU market, while gas fuelled trucks represent less than 0.5% of the trucks on the EU market. In practice, therefore, the emission limits for diesel vehicles, i.e. those with compression ignition (CI) engines, will have the most significant impact on air quality.

Limit values in scenario A are considered to be equivalent to the future US standards. Compliance with the emission limits of this scenario would require a higher rate of cooled exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) (in addition to the use of a more efficient selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system). The higher rate of cooled EGR would lead to a higher fuel consumption and hence to higher CO2 emissions in the range of 2% to 3%.

Scenario D could also be considered, to a certain extent, as equivalent to the US standards. Higher fuel consumption with higher CO2 emissions is not foreseen in this case.

Scenario B is stricter than scenario A in terms of NOx for diesel engines but less stringent in terms of PM. This scenario requires a rate of cooled EGR that is considerably higher than that of scenario A. In order to achieve such a high ratio of EGR, scenario B requires an improved cooling system. As a result, higher fuel consumption and thus higher CO2 emissions of around 5% to 6% are anticipated.

Finally, scenario C is the least stringent in terms of NOx emissions; no negative impact is anticipated in terms of fuel consumption/CO2.

Stakeholders were requested to give their views on which of the above mentioned scenarios are the most appropriate for implementation at the Euro VI stage. In this context, the Commission services would be interested in whether stakeholders have a preference for stricter limits of pollutant emissions, even if this leads to higher CO2 emissions, or for lower CO2 emissions, even if this means less stringent pollutant emissions, or for a balanced mid-way solution.

The Commission services also wanted to know whether the public prefers the Commission to present a proposal for Euro VI before the end of the year or that it prepares a proposal on the two next stages (Euro VI and Euro VII) even if this would mean delaying the proposal and possibly the entry into force of the new emissions limits by several months.

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