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Sound and independent information
on the environment

Fleet composition

Indicator 26: Compliance with emission standards

 

Less than half of the petrol-engined vehicles in the EU are fitted with catalytic converters.

Figure 6.15: Estimated share of petrol cars fitted with catalytic converter (EU)

Source: Preliminary data from Eurostat

Objective
Improve compliance with emission standards.

Definition

  • Share of the vehicle fleet that complies with EU emission standards (EURO I and II).
  • Share of aeroplane fleet that complies with ICAO noise standards (Chapters I, II and III).

 

Policy and targets

EU legislation on emissions from passenger cars applies only to new vehicles. Until the whole fleet is renewed, therefore, the overall effect of legislation will depend on phasing-out cars that do not comply with the new standards.

EU legislation on emissions from new motor vehicles have been in force since 1970. Since 1993 this has been mandatory for Member States. EU standards depend on vehicle type (passenger cars, light commercial cars, heavy-duty trucks) and fuel used (petrol, diesel).

Petrol vehicle standards relate to CO, HC, and NOx; PM is also included for diesel vehicles. Standards requiring the use of catalytic converters on petrol cars first came into force in 1993 with EURO I, which was replaced by EURO II in 1997. Even stricter standards have been agreed, with EURO III and EURO IV, coming into force in 2001 and 2006 for passenger cars and in 2002 and 2007 for light commercial cars. Catalytic converters result in marked reductions of CO, NOx and hydrocarbon emissions from petrol-driven cars, and more efficient catalytic converters will ensure compliance with future, more stringent, standards.

For heavy-duty vehicles, standards relate to emissions of CO, HC, NOx and PM. The first standards came into force in 1990 with EURO 0, which was replaced by EURO I and EURO II, in 1993 and 1996. Proposals for EURO III, IV and V for 2001, 2006 and 2009 are currently being discussed.

There is however, no EU legislation or target relating to the fraction of the vehicle fleet that should meet standards. French legislation, however, requires 20 % of new cars purchased by public bodies to employ cleaner technologies.

Aeroplanes are classified according to ICAO noise norms (‘chapters’): Chapter II is the standard on noise applicable to jet-powered aircraft designed before October 1997 and Chapter III is a more stringent standard applicable to those designed after that date. Chapter I aeroplanes have been forbidden in Europe since 1988, while Chapter II aircraft will have to be phased out by 2002. The EU has introduced legislation for freezing the registration and use of older re-certified aeroplanes (upgraded with hush-kits or low by-pass ratio engines) at the level of 2000.


Findings

In 1997, fewer than 50 % of petrol-driven cars had catalytic converters, despite steady growth in the number of vehicles complying with EURO standards. There are large differences between countries (Figure 6.15).

In 1995, 70 % of diesel-driven cars, but only 23 % of heavy-duty trucks, complied with EURO I (DG Transport Fact Sheet)

In 1998, Chapter III aeroplanes made up over 90 % of the EU fleet, Chapter II about 8 %, Chapter I only 0.1 % (two aircraft) and supersonic aircraft (Concorde) 0.5 %. Most of the aeroplane fleet thus complies with the most stringent EU noise standards. The phase-out of Chapter II aircraft will further improve the average noise performance of the fleet.


Future work

  • A joint Eurostat-UNECE survey covering 55 European countries provides a range of information on road vehicle fleets. The survey gives information on the number of passenger cars fitted with catalytic converters for only five countries. The response rate is expected to increase once a question on catalytic converters is incorporated in the regular collection of transport statistics. Till then, catalytic converter figures are Eurostat estimates based on the estimated age distribution.
  • More work is needed to provide better data on the number of vehicles meeting emission standards such as EURO I and II, and on fleet composition of other transport modes.

 

Data
Estimated share of petrol-engined cars fitted with catalytic converter in EU
Unit: %

 

1990

1991

1992

1993

1994

1995

1996

1997

Austria

35

37

40

48

56

63

71

76

Belgium

3

7

11

20

29

37

46

54

Denmark

2

4

6

12

23

32

41

50

Finland

2

5

7

12

17

23

29

37

France

3

5

8

15

23

30

38

43

Germany

26

32

38

44

48

52

56

60

Greece

9

18

28

34

38

43

47

51

Ireland

5

14

21

27

35

44

54

66

Italy

3

6

9

15

21

27

33

41

Luxembourg

5

12

17

30

41

52

62

70

Netherlands

32

40

48

53

59

65

71

76

Portugal

1

3

5

9

13

16

19

22

Spain

4

5

7

10

15

18

22

26

Sweden

4

8

11

20

30

40

52

67

United Kingdom

3

5

7

13

20

27

33

40

EU15

10

14

17

24

30

36

42

48

Source: Eurostat

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European Environment Agency (EEA)
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Phone: +45 3336 7100