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Transport emissions of air pollutants

Indicator Fact Sheet (Deprecated)
Topics: ,

Assessment made on  01 Jan 2002

Generic metadata


Transport Transport (Primary theme)

DPSIR: Pressure


Indicator codes
  • TERM 003
Geographic coverage:

Policy issue:  Meet EU and/or international emission reduction targets for 2010

Key messages

  • Transport emissions of air pollutants in the ACs dropped at the beginning of the 1990s, and have since stabilised.

  • EU15 transport pollutant emissions were significantly reduced between 1990 and 2000.


Key assessment

In the ACs, transport emissions of ozone precursors, secondary particulates and acidifying substances fell by around 25 % over the past decade (with wide variations among countries). This is mainly due to the emission decrease at the beginning of the 1990s following the drop in traffic volumes. The stabilisation of emissions - despite rising transport volumes - in the second half of the 1990s was a result of fleet renewal. It is not yet clear whether the drop of emissions reported in 2000, due mainly to reductions in Poland and Turkey, will persist.

In the EU as a whole, emissions also fell (24 to 33 % for the above pollutants), mostly as a result of increasing use of catalytic converters and reduced sulphur concentrations in fuels.

In the ACs the share of transport in the above three emission categories is increasing (and in the EU for the latter two), indicating that the reduction efforts of other sectors have been more effective.

There are wide variations among countries, from an almost halving of transport pollutant emissions in the UK to a quarter increase in Greece. In the Czech Republic, Greece, Ireland and Portugal transport pollutant emissions increased, following a strong growth in road transport volumes and - in the case of the Czech Republic, Greece and Portugal - relatively old vehicle fleets. In the near future, some increases in emissions can therefore be expected in the ACs, as vehicle fleet characteristics in most ACs are the same as or worse than those in the Czech Republic, and transport demand will continue to rise (IEA, 2002). However, in the long run (up to 2020) transport pollutant emissions are projected to decline significantly, provided fleet renewal continues (OECD, 2002a).

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