Indicator Assessment

Average CO2 emissions from newly registered motor vehicles in Europe

Indicator Assessment
Prod-ID: IND-457-en
  Also known as: TERM 017
Published 13 Aug 2020 Last modified 24 Nov 2021
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The average carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from new passenger cars registered in the European Union (EU), Iceland, Norway and the United Kingdom (UK), increased in 2019, for the third consecutive year, rising to 122.4 grams of CO2 per kilometre.

The average CO2 emissions from new vans also increased slightly. In 2019, vans registered in the EU, Iceland, Norway and the UK emitted on average 158.4 g CO2/km, which is 0.5 grams more than in 2018.

Zero- and low-emission vehicles must be deployed much faster across Europe to achieve the targets set for cars (95 gCO2/km in 2021 — phased-in in 2020) and vans (147 gCO2/km in 2020).

Average carbon dioxide emissions from new passenger cars


In the European Union (EU), Iceland, Norway and the United Kingdom (UK), CO2 emissions from the new passenger car fleet increased from 118.5 g to 122.4 g between 2017 and 2019. The new passenger car fleet met the 2015 emission target of 130 grams of CO2 per kilometre (g CO2/km) 2 years early, but additional efforts are still required to meet the future target of 95 g CO2/km by 2021 (phased in in 2020).

As for 2018, petrol cars were the most sold passenger vehicles, constituting 59 % of all new registrations (63 % including hybrid electric vehicles (HEV)). Diesel vehicles constituted 31 % (32 % including HEVs) of new registrations, marking a decrease of 4 percentage points from 2018, and 23 percentage points from 2011 when diesel cars peaked with a 55 % share of new registrations. On average, the CO2 emissions of diesel cars (127.0 g CO2/km) are now very close to those of petrol cars (127.6 g CO2/km). The difference of 0.6 g CO2/km was the lowest observed since the beginning of the monitoring.

Sales of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) and battery-electric vehicles (BEV) continued to increase to about 3.5 %, compared with 2 % in 2018. About half of the BEVs were registered in Germany, Norway and the Netherlands. The combined shares of PHEV and BEV sales were highest in Norway (56 %), Iceland (19 %), the Netherlands (16 %) and Sweden (12 %). These were also some of the few countries where the average emissions of new cars decreased from 2018 to 2019.

The average mass of new cars has increased by 30 kg from 2018. The mass increase was observed for all vehicle segments (small, medium, large regular cars, and sport utility vehicles (SUV)) and for both petrol and diesel cars.  

Average carbon dioxide emissions from new vans


Vans registered in 2019 emitted on average 158.4 g CO2/km, which is 0.5 grams more than in 2018 and 11 grams higher than the EU target of 147 g CO2/km set for 2020. Further efficiency improvements of 7 % are still needed to reach the EU’s more stringent target of 147 g CO2/km set for 2020. One of the factors affecting the emissions increase was the increase in the average mass of 14 kg. At the same time, the share of electric vans (BEV sand PHEV) remained low, although it increased from 0.8 % in 2018 to 1.3% in 2019.

The vast majority of the new van fleet constitutes diesel vehicles (94 %), while the market share of petrol vehicles decreased from 3.6 % in 2018 to 3.4 % in 2019.

The average fuel-efficiency of new vans varied widely across Member States due to the different models and sizes of vehicles sold in each country. Average emissions were lowest in Cyprus (131.9 g CO2/km), Portugal (138.1 g CO2/km), Malta (140.7 g CO2/km) and Bulgaria (145.1 g CO2/km). Average emissions were highest in Slovakia (174.3 g CO2/km), Germany (172.0 g CO2/km) and the Czech Republic (171.8 g CO2/km).

The average weight of new vans registered in 2019 was 1 860 kg. Smaller vehicles were sold in and Cyprus, Bulgaria and Portugal (< 1 650 kg); larger vehicles (>2 000 kg) in Iceland, Finland, Norway and Slovakia.

Supporting information

Indicator definition

Average specific CO2 emissions means the CO2 emissions of passenger cars or light commercial vehicles measured in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 715/2007 and specified as the CO2 mass emissions (combined) in the certificate of conformity. It includes new motor vehicles registered in the specific year in the EU-28. As of 1 January 2018, data from Iceland are also included and as of January 2019, data from Norway are included.


For new passenger cars and light commercial vehicles, tailpipe emissions are expressed in grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre (g CO2/km).


Policy context and targets

Context description

In 1995, the European Commission adopted a Community strategy to reduce CO2 emissions from passenger cars and improve fuel economy. The strategy was based on the following pillars:

  • an agreement with the auto industry on a reduction in the fuel consumption of new cars sold; 
  • the promotion of fuel-efficient cars via fiscal measures; and
  • improved consumer information.

In 1998, a voluntary agreement was reached between the European Commission and the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association (ACEA) to reduce average emissions from new cars sold to 140 g CO2/km by 2008. Voluntary commitments from Japanese and Korean manufacturers set a target of 140 g CO2/km by 2009.

In February 2007, the Commission adopted a Communication on the results of the review of the Community Strategy to reduce CO2 emissions from passenger cars and light-commercial vehicles. It acknowledged that progress went some way towards a target of 140 g CO2/km, but highlighted that the EU objective of 120 g CO2/km would not be met by 2012 in the absence of additional measures. 

Therefore, the European Commission decided to establish CO2 emission performance requirements for new passenger cars in 2009. A similar approach was established for new light commercial vehicles in 2011.

On 19 April 2019, the European Parliament and the Council adopted a regulation that established CO2 emission performance requirements for new passenger cars and new light commercial vehicles (vans) in the European Union post-2020.  


For new passenger cars, Regulation (EU) No 443/2009 sets the average CO2 specific emission target at 130 g CO2/km by 2015. This is defined as the average value for the fleet of newly registered passenger cars in the EU. A target of 95 g CO2/km was set for 2021 (phase-in from 2020).

For new light commercial vehicles, Regulation (EU) No 510/2011 sets the average CO2 emissions target at 175 g CO2/km by 2017. This is defined as the average value for the fleet of newly registered vans in the EU. A medium-term target of 147 g CO2/km was set for 2020.

Related policy documents

    Regulation (ec) no 443/2009 of the European parliament and of the Council setting emission performance standards for new passenger cars as part of the community's integrated approach to reduce CO2 emissions from light-duty vehicles.
  • 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
  • REGULATION (EU) No 510/2011
    REGULATION (EU) No 510/2011 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL setting emission performance standards for new light commercial vehicles as part of the Union's integrated approach to reduce CO 2 emissions from light-duty vehicles


Methodology for indicator calculation

Average specific emissions of CO2 are calculated as a weighted average of the Member State's fleet of new registrations in a particular year. 

Methodology for gap filling

No gap filling is foreseen. 

Methodology references

No methodology references available.



Methodology uncertainty

Member States report CO2 emission levels of new vehicles, measured under standardised laboratory conditions and following the requirements of the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) test procedure. Due to growing acceptance that the NEDC test procedure was outdated and did not necessarily represent real-world driving conditions and emissions, in June 2016, the European Commission proposed to adopt the more demanding World Harmonized Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP), a globally harmonised test procedure developed within the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). Following recent agreement within the EU, the new WLTP test is now mandatory for all new vehicle types introduced after September 2017 and for all new vehicles from September 2018.

Data sets uncertainty

The EEA performs several quality checks to evaluate the accuracy and quality of the data sets. On the basis of these checks, and feedback from Member States and vehicle manufacturers, the EEA and the European Commission assess the corrections and, where justified, take them into account for the calculation of average CO2 emissions and specific emission targets. The EEA then finalises and publishes the data.

Rationale uncertainty

No uncertainty has been specified.

Data sources

Other info

DPSIR: State
Typology: Descriptive indicator (Type A - What is happening to the environment and to humans?)
Indicator codes
  • TERM 017
Frequency of updates
Updates are scheduled once per year
EEA Contact Info


Geographic coverage

Temporal coverage


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