Climate Action

Road transport: Reducing CO2 emissions from vehicles


In 2016, transport (including aviation and shipping) contributed 27% of the EU's total emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), the main greenhouse gas, and were still more than 26% above 1990 levels. Road transport was responsible for almost 72% of those transport emissions.

Evening traffic jam with brake lights © Digital Vision/Digital Vision

Light-duty vehicles

Light-duty vehicles – cars and vans – produce around 15% of the EU's emissions of CO2.

EU legislation sets binding emission targets for new car and van fleets.

The targets for 2015 (for cars) and 2017 (for vans) were achieved already in 2013.

In November 2017, the Commission presented a legislative proposal setting new CO2 emission standards for cars and vans for the period after 2020, on which a provisional agreement was found by the European Parliament and the Council in December 2018.

CO2 labelling of cars

To help drivers choose new cars with low fuel consumption, EU legislation requires Member States to ensure that relevant information is provided to consumers, including a label showing a car's fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions.

Heavy-duty vehicles

Heavy-duty vehicles – trucks and buses – are responsible for about a quarter of CO2 emissions from road transport in the EU and for some 6% of total EU emissions.

Despite some improvements in fuel consumption efficiency in recent years, these emissions are still rising, mainly due to increasing road freight traffic.

In May 2018, the Commission adopted a legislative proposal setting the first ever CO2 emission standards for heavy-duty vehicles in the EU, on which a provisional agreement was found by the European Parliament and the Council in February 2019.

Fuel quality

Fuel quality is an important element in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from transport. EU legislation requires the greenhouse gas intensity of vehicle fuels to be cut by up to 10% by 2020.


Documents relating to the strategy to reduce CO2 emissions from cars and vans

Documents relating to the progress report


Supporting studies to develop the EU strategy on CO2 and cars

The information and views set out in the reports and studies published below are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the Commission. The Commission does not guarantee the accuracy of the data included in these reports and studies. Neither the Commission nor any person acting on the Commission’s behalf may be held responsible for the use which may be made of the information contained therein.


Data gathering and analysis to improve understanding of the second hand car and LCV markets and implications for cost effectiveness and social equity of LDV CO2 regulations
Consideration of LDV leasing in relation to the cost effectiveness of LDV CO2 regulation
Consideration of the role of speed limiters in the light commercial vehicle CO2 regulation
Consideration of the impacts of LDV scrappage schemes
Exploration of EU road vehicle fuel consumption and disaggregation
Fitment and pricing of optional extras onto new motor vehicles in the UK and their resale in the used market
Supporting analysis on real-world light-duty vehicle CO2 emissions


Evaluation of Light Duty Vehicle CO2 emission Regulations
Competitiveness impacts of post-2020 LDV CO2 Regulation
Competitiveness study mindmaps
LDV mass reduction potential and future CO2 Regulation (Appendices)
Impact of mileage on cost effectiveness of LDV CO2 Regulation
Improvements to the definition of lifetime mileage of light duty vehicles
Correction algorithms for WLTP chassis dynamometer and coast-down testing

2013Consideration of alternative approaches to regulating CO2 emissions from light duty road vehicles for the period after 2020
Analysis of the influence of metrics for future CO2 legislation for Light Duty Vehicles on deployment of technologies and GHG abatement costs
2011Impacts of electric vehicles - Summary Report
An overview of Electric Vehicles on the market and in development
Assessment of electric vehicle and battery technogy
Assessment of the future elecricity sector
Economic analysis and business models
Impact analysis for market uptake scenarios and policy implications
2011Uncertainty/Sensitivity analysis of the transport model TREMOVE
2011JRC Report: Analyzing on-road emissions of light-duty vehicles with Portable Emission Measurement Systems (PEMS) - Corrigendum
2010Graphical User Interface for the European Transport Model TREMOVE
2010Update and further development of transport model TREMOVE
2007JRC Report: Mobile Measurement of Pollutant Emissions and Fuel Consumption of Road Vehicles In Real-World Driving Situations Using Portable Emission Measurement Systems (PEMS)
2005Service contract to carry out economic analysis and business impact assessment of CO2 emission reduction measures in the automotive sector: Final Report and Annexes)