Proportion of vehicle fleet meeting certain emission standards (TERM 034) - Assessment published Apr 2009
Estimates based on the share of vehicles complying with the various legislation classes suggest that it takes at least 10 years for a new technology to penetrate the vehicle fleet in the EEA but that this penetration is quicker for diesel than for petrol cars. The proportion of trucks, buses and coaches that comply with the latest and most stringent emission standards is lower than for cars, because of their longer lifetimes. On the other hand, the penetration of new technology is highest for two-wheelers.
Is the environmental performance of the vehicle fleet improving?
A factor that has limited the benefits of new technologies is the slow market penetration of these technologies; the average age of passenger cars in the EEA has decreased slightly from 1995 to 2007 (see TERM 33 - Average age of the vehicle fleet). This development can be partly explained by the fact that new cars are bought, but old cars are kept. Indeed, the number of cars per household has increased (see TERM 32 - Size and composition of the vehicle fleet), confirming that new technologies need a long time to penetrate fully. Moreover, new models may be of better quality and therefore have a longer lifetime than less recent vehicles.
One proxy-indicator that can be used to show the rate of penetration of new technologies is the share of passenger cars fitted with catalytic converters. For passenger cars, it has taken more than 10 years to reach a 72 % penetration of this new technology.
However, this indicator alone is not sufficient for a complete assessment of the environmental benefits gained by the penetration of any new technology. In order to have a better overview of the environmental performance of the vehicle fleet, the annual share of kilometres driven by vehicles with older technology needs to be known. There are strong indications that older vehicles are generally used less than newer ones, which means that the emissions reductions achieved are higher than the above indicator may suggest. Due to data limitations concerning the vehicle-kilometres allocated to the various technology classes, an assessment of how much older technology is being used can not be realised.
Using data extracted from the TREMOVE model, the share of vehicles complying with the various Euro standards has been determined for the period 1990 to 2007 for the EEA. Passenger cars, and especially diesel cars, have the highest penetration of the latest emission standards as shown in Figure 1. In 2007, 12.2 % and 22.3 % of all petrol and diesel cars respectively were Euro 4 compliant, while the share of Euro 3 compliant vehicles was 32.8 % and 45.2 % respectively.
For light (LDV) and heavy-duty (HDV) vehicles, the situation is completely different. The average life of a truck is longer than that of a passenger car. Thus the share of trucks complying with the most stringent emission standards and the corresponding rate of penetration of new technologies is relatively low. While in 1995 about 95 % of all LDV and HDV were of conventional technology, the share of vehicles complying with the Euro IV standards by 2007 was 3.4 %, 4.6 % and 5.4 % for petrol LDV, diesel LDV and HDV respectively, while a significant percentage (20.9 %, 27.2 % and 30.6 % respectively) are Euro III vehicles.
The same picture may also be observed for the buses and coaches. Approximately 21.8 %, 27.6 % and 9.8 % of the buses and coaches complied with the Euro II, III and IV standards respectively in 2007. As regards mopeds and motorcycles, 10.3 % and 9.8 % respectively comply with the Euro III emission limits, while 47.4 % and 58.5 % respectively are still of conventional technology.
Indicator specification and metadata
The vehicle category split in technology classes is defined as the percentage share of conventional, open loop, Euro 1, Euro 2, Euro 3, Euro 4 and Euro 5 vehicles of each vehicle category (petrol and diesel passenger cars and light duty vehicles, heavy duty vehicles, buses, coaches, mopeds and motorcycles).
The vehicle activity split in technology classes is defined as the percentage share of the total activity (vehicle-kilometres) of conventional, open loop, Euro 1, Euro 2, Euro 3, Euro 4 and Euro 5 vehicles of each vehicle category (petrol and diesel passenger cars and light duty vehicles, heavy duty vehicles, buses, coaches, mopeds and motorcycles).
Vehicle category split in technology classes is presented as a percentage of each technology class for each vehicle category (e.g. the percentage of Euro 3 vehicles in the total petrol passenger car fleet).
Policy context and targets
Standards requiring the use of catalytic converters on petrol cars first came into force in 1993 with Euro 1 (Directive 91/441/EEC) and were replaced by Directive 94/12/EC introducing the Euro 2 standards in 1997. Emission limits for light commercial vehicles, being subject to less stringent standards than passenger cars, were aligned with these more stringent limit values by Directive 93/59/EEC and Directive 96/69/EC. Directive 98/69/EC introduced Euro 3 standards for passenger cars (in 2001) and light commercial vehicles (in 2002). By means of the same directive, Euro 4 standards (which came into force in 2005 for new type approvals) were defined. With regulation No 715/2007, the European Union has recently introduced stricter limits, particularly for emissions of NOx and PM. Euro 5 and Euro 6 standards will come into force in September 2009 and in September 2014 respectively. For heavy-duty vehicles, the first standards came into force in 1990 with Euro 0 (Directive 88/77/EEC, as amended by Commission Directive 2001/27/EC), which was replaced by Euro I and Euro II in 1993 and 1996, respectively (Directive 91/542/EEC). More stringent emission standards, Euro III, IV and V for 2001, 2006 and 2009 were adopted by Directive 1999/96/EC. This so-called 'Heavy-duty Directive' describes the adoption of additional measures (taking effect from 2005/6), including provisions relating to the development of on-board diagnostic (OBD) and on-board measurement (OBM) systems to monitor in-service exhaust emissions, durability requirements and in-service control, and limits for non-regulated pollutants that may become important as a result of the widespread introduction of new alternative fuels. Current emission limits for motorcycles and mopeds are defined in Directive 2002/51/EC, amending Directive 97/24/EC. The directive and its amendment determine a set of emission limits (both for 2-stroke and 4-stroke motorcycles) for CO, HC and NOx to be applied to motorcycles from 2003 onwards. A further tightening of the emission limits is foreseen, extending Euro 4 standards from 2016. The introduction of 'in-use' checks to prevent high emissions caused by bikers 'tinkering' with engines is also foreseen.
Policy objectives are set with respect to the emission standards of new vehicles, as explained above. However, no target exists specifying or determining the fraction of the vehicle fleet that should meet these standards. Targets have been set in the urban context, as the 2011 White Paper on Transport states that major urban centres are to achieve essentially CO2-free city logistics by 2030 and that conventionally fuelled cars in cities are to be completely phased out by 2050.
Related policy documents
COMMISSION REGULATION (EC) No 692/2008 on type-approval of motor vehicles
COMMISSION REGULATION (EC) No 692/2008 of 18 July 2008 implementing and amending Regulation (EC) No 715/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council on type-approval of motor vehicles with respect to emissions from light passenger and commercial vehicles (Euro 5 and Euro 6) and on access to vehicle repair and maintenance information
on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to measures to be taken against the emission of gaseous and particulate pollutants from compression ignition engines for use in vehicles, and the emission of gaseous pollutants from positive ignition engines fuelled with natural gas or liquefied petroleum gas for use in vehicles and amending Council Directive 88/77/EEC
DIRECTIVE 2002/51/EC on emissions from two- and three-wheel motor vehicles
DIRECTIVE 2002/51/EC OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 19 July 2002 on the reduction of the level of pollutant emissions from two- and three-wheel motor vehicles and amending Directive 97/24/EC
REGULATION (EC) No 595/2009 on type-approval of EURO VI heavy duty vehicles
REGULATION (EC) No 595/2009 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 18 June 2009 on type-approval of motor vehicles and engines with respect to emissions from heavy duty vehicles (Euro VI) and on access to vehicle repair and maintenance information and amending Regulation (EC) No 715/2007 and Directive 2007/46/EC and repealing Directives 80/1269/EEC, 2005/55/EC and 2005/78/EC
Regulation (EC) No 715/2007 on type approval of motor vehicles
REGULATION (EC) No 715/2007 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 20 June 2007 on type approval of motor vehicles with respect to emissions from light passenger and commercial vehicles (Euro 5 and Euro 6) and on access to vehicle repair and maintenance information
Transport White paper 2011
Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area - Towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system
Methodology for indicator calculation
The shares of the various technology classes are calculated by dividing the population of conventional, open loop, Euro 1, Euro 2, Euro 3 and Euro 4 vehicles by the total fleet of each vehicle category (petrol and diesel passenger cars and light duty vehicles, heavy duty vehicles, buses, coaches, mopeds and motorcycles).
Methodology for gap filling
Since the number of vehicles, as well as their activity levels (number of kilometres driven per year) included in the various technology classes is modelled, no gap-filling is necessary.
No methodology references available.
No uncertainty has been specified
Data sets uncertainty
The shares of the various technology classes and their activity in TREMOVE are based on both statistical data as well as estimations, especially for the new Member States. In principle, the data sets may be considered as reliable, as there is a good agreement with official published data (e.g. Eurostat).
No uncertainty has been specified
provided by Directorate-General for Environment (DG ENV)
Transport (Primary topic)
Typology: Descriptive indicator (Type A - What is happening to the environment and to humans?)
- TERM 034
Contacts and ownership
EEA Contact InfoCinzia Pastorello
EEA Management Plan2011 2.9.2 (note: EEA internal system)
Frequency of updates
For references, please go to www.eea.europa.eu/soer or scan the QR code.
This briefing is part of the EEA's report The European Environment - State and Outlook 2015. The EEA is an official agency of the EU, tasked with providing information on Europe’s environment.
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