To help drivers choose new cars with low fuel consumption, EU countries are required to ensure that relevant information is provided to consumers, including a label showing a car's fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions.
The 'car labelling Directive' (Directive 1999/94/EC) aims to
- help consumers buy or lease cars which use less fuel and thereby emit less CO2
- encourage manufacturers to reduce the fuel consumption of new cars.
Information to consumers
The directive requires:
- A label showing fuel economy and CO2 emissions to be attached to all new cars or displayed nearby at the point of sale;
- A poster or display showing prominently the official fuel consumption and CO2 emissions data of all new car models displayed or offered for sale or lease at or through the respective point of sale;
- A guide on fuel economy and CO2 emissions from new cars to be produced in consultation with manufacturers at least annually. The guide should be available free of charge at the point of sale and from a designated body within each Member State;
- All promotional literature to contain the official fuel consumption and specific CO2 emissions data for the passenger car model to which it refers.
Annexes to the directive set out minimum requirements that each of these items must meet.
A Commission recommendation published in May 2017 seeks to further improve car labelling by
- supporting Member States to make full use of the new test procedure (WLTP) in a coordinated way to provide improved information to consumers,
- encouraging Member States to make air pollution related information available to consumers.
Evaluation of the directive
In 2016 the Commission completed an evaluation of the car labelling Directive.
The evaluation concluded that the directive continues to be relevant, given the need to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions from road transport and to continue to raise consumer awareness on fuel use and CO2 emissions of new passenger cars.
Evidence shows awareness of the information on fuel economy and CO2 emissions has been improving steadily since the directive was implemented and is now medium-to-high (>75%) in many Member States.
However, the evaluation also showed that further clarification and simplification of the directive could increase its relevance, effectiveness, efficiency and coherence.
- 13/12/1999 - OJ L 012/2000 - Directive 1999/94/EC relating to the availability of consumer information on fuel economy and CO2 emissions in respect of the marketing of new passenger cars
- 25/07/2003 - OJ L 186/2003 - Commission Directive 2003/73/EC amending Annex III to Directive 1999/94/EC
Useful documents relating to CO2 labelling for new passenger cars
- 2021 - Technical analysis of measures to improve consumer awareness of emissions and fuel consumption of vehicles
- 31/05/2017 - C(2017) 3525 - Commission Recommendation on the use of fuel consumption and CO2 emission values type-approved and measured in accordance with the World Harmonised Light Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP) when making information available for consumers pursuant to Directive 1999/94/EC
- 26/03/2003 - C(2003) 848 - Commission Recommendation on the application to other media of the provisions of Directive 1999/94/EC concerning promotional literature
- Public consultation 2016
- Public consultation 2008
- 2016 - Evaluation of Directive 1999/94/EC ("the car labelling Directive") - Final report
- 2013 - "Testing CO2/Car labelling options and consumer information" – behavioural study - Annex 2 - Other annexes
- 2012 - Report on the implementation of Directive 1999/94/EC relating to the availability of consumer information on fuel economy and CO2 emissions in respect of the marketing of new passenger cars and Annexes
- 03/2005 - Report on the effectiveness of the car fuel efficiency labelling directive 1999/94/EC and options for improvement and Annexes