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Climate Action

CO₂ emission performance standards for cars and vans

Passenger cars and vans ('light commercial vehicles') are respectively responsible for around 12% and 2.5% of total EU emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), which is the main greenhouse gas.

On 1 January 2020, Regulation (EU) 2019/631 entered into force, setting CO2 emission performance standards for new passenger cars and vans. It replaced and repealed the former Regulations (EC) 443/2009 (cars) and (EU) 510/2011 (vans).

The Regulation sets EU fleet-wide CO2 emission targets applying from 2020, 2025 and 2030 and includes a mechanism to incentivise the uptake of zero- and low-emission vehicles.

As the new target started applying in 2020, the average CO2 emissions from new passenger cars registered in Europe have decreased by 12% compared to the previous year and the share of electric cars tripled.

On 14 July 2021, the European Commission adopted a series of legislative proposals setting out how it intends to achieve climate neutrality in the EU by 2050, including the intermediate target of an at least 55% net reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. The package proposes to revise several pieces of EU climate legislation, including the EU ETS, Effort Sharing Regulation, transport and land use legislation, setting out in real terms the ways in which the Commission intends to reach EU climate targets under the European Green Deal.


Regulation (EU) 2019/631 will:

  • contribute to the achievement of the EU's commitments under the Paris Agreement,
  • reduce fuel consumption costs for consumers,
  • strengthen the competitiveness of EU automotive industry and stimulate employment.

Target levels

Targets (2020-2024)

For the period 2020-2024, Regulation (EU) 2019/631 confirms the EU fleet-wide CO2 emission targets set under Regulations (EC) No 443/2009 and (EU) No 510/2011.

  • Cars: 95 g CO2/km
  • Vans: 147 g CO2/km

These target levels refer to the NEDC emission test procedure. From 2021 onwards, the emission targets for manufacturers will be based on the new WLTP emission test procedure.

Specific emission targets are set annually for each manufacturer. Those targets are based on the EU fleet-wide targets and take into account the average mass of the manufacturer’s new vehicles registered in a given year, using a limit value curve. This means that manufacturers of heavier cars are allowed higher average emissions than manufacturers of lighter cars. The curve is set in such a way that the targets for the EU fleet-wide average emissions are achieved.

For manufacturers of passenger cars 2020 is a phase-in year: the specific emission targets will apply only to the 95% least emitting new cars in their fleet.

Targets (2025-2030)

Starting in the years 2025 and 2030, Regulation (EU) 2019/631 sets stricter EU fleet-wide CO2 emission targets, which are defined as a percentage reduction from the 2021 starting points.

  • Cars: 15% reduction from 2025 on and 37.5% reduction from 2030 on
  • Vans: 15% reduction from 2025 on and 31% reduction from 2030 on

The annual specific emission targets of each manufacturer will be based on these EU fleet-wide targets, taking into account the average test mass of its newly registered vehicles.

Incentive mechanism for zero- and low-emission vehicles (ZLEV)

In the years from 2020 to 2022, a super-credits system applies for passenger cars with emissions of less than 50 g CO2/km (NEDC). These vehicles are counted multiple times for the calculation of the average specific emissions of a manufacturer:

  • as 2 vehicles in 2020
  • as 1.67 vehicles in 2021
  • as 1.33 vehicles in 2022.

A cap on the super-credits is set at 7.5 g/km per car manufacturer over the three years. No super-credits system is in place for vans.

From 2025, a different ZLEV crediting system is introduced both for car and van manufacturers. It allows for the relaxation of a manufacturer’s specific emission target, if its share of new ZLEVs (vehicles with emissions between 0 and 50 g CO2/km (WLTP)) registered in a given year exceeds the following benchmarks:

  • Cars: 15% ZLEV from 2025 on and 35% ZLEV from 2030 on
  • Vans: 15% ZLEV from 2025 on and 30% ZLEV from 2030 on

A one percentage point exceedance of the ZLEV benchmark will increase the manufacturer’s CO2 target (in g CO2/km) by one percent. The target relaxation is capped at maximum 5% to safeguard the environmental integrity of the Regulation.

For calculating the ZLEV share in a manufacturer’s fleet, an accounting rule applies. This gives a greater weight to ZLEV with lower CO2 emissions.

Penalties for excess emissions

If the average CO2 emissions of a manufacturer's fleet exceed its specific emission target in a given year, the manufacturer has to pay – for each of its vehicles newly registered in that year – an excess emissions premium of €95 per g/km of target exceedance.


Manufacturers can group together and act jointly to meet their emissions target. In forming such a pool, manufacturers must respect the rules of competition law. Pooling between car and van manufacturers is not possible.


Manufacturers responsible for fewer than 1 000 cars or fewer than 1 000 vans newly registered in the EU per year are exempted from meeting a specific emissions target, unless they voluntarily apply for a derogation target.


Manufacturers may apply for a derogation from their specific emission target at the following conditions:

  • A small-volume manufacturer (responsible for less than 10 000 cars or less than 22 000 vans newly registered per year) can propose its own derogation target, based on the criteria set in the Regulation.
  • A niche car manufacturer (responsible for between 10 000 and 300 000 cars newly registered per year) can apply for a derogation for the years until 2028 included. Between 2020 and 2024, the derogation target must correspond to a 45% reduction from its average emissions in 2007. In the years 2025 to 2028, the derogation target will be 15% below the 2021 derogation target.

More information can be found here.


To encourage eco-innovation, manufacturers may obtain emission credits for vehicles equipped with innovative technologies for which it is not possible to demonstrate the full CO2 savings during their type approval.

The manufacturer must demonstrate these savings on the basis of independently verified data. The maximum emission credits for these eco-innovations per manufacturer are 7 g CO2/km per year.

As of 2025, also the efficiency improvements for air conditioning systems will become eligible as eco-innovation technologies.

More information can be found here.

In-service verification

Manufacturers are required to ensure correspondence between the CO2 emissions recorded in the certificates of conformity of their vehicles and the CO2 emissions of vehicles in-service.

Type-approval authorities will verify this correspondence in selected vehicles, as well as the presence of any strategies artificially improving the vehicle’s performance in the type-approval tests.

On the basis of their findings, type-approval authorities will ensure the correction of the certificates of conformity and may take additional measures, set out in the Type Approval Framework Regulation.

Type-approval authorities will report any deviations to the Commission, who will take them into account for the purpose of calculating the average specific emissions of a manufacturer.

The detailed rules implementing this measure are under preparation.

More information can be found here.

Real-world emissions

In order to assess the real-world representativeness of the CO2 emissions and of the fuel or energy consumption determined at type-approval, as well as to prevent the growing of the gap between emissions tested in the laboratory and real-world emissions, the Commission will collect real-world data of cars and vans, starting with those vehicles placed on the market in 2021. These data will be collected using on-board fuel consumption monitoring (OBFCM) devices.

More information can be found here.


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