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Climate Action

Road transport: Reducing CO₂ emissions from vehicles

 In 2017, road transport contributed 21% of the EU's total emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), the main greenhouse gas.


Light-duty vehicles

Light-duty vehicles – cars and light commercial vehicles (vans) – produce around 15% of the EU emissions of CO2.

EU legislation sets binding CO2 emission targets for the new car and van fleets.

The targets for 2015 (for cars) and 2017 (for vans) were achieved already in 2013.

On 17 April 2019, the European Parliament and the Council adopted Regulation (EU) 2019/631 setting new CO2 emission standards for cars and vans. The new regulation applies since 1 January 2020.

CO₂ labelling of cars

To help drivers choose new cars with low fuel consumption, EU legislation requires Member States to ensure that relevant information is provided to consumers, including a label showing a car's fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions.

Heavy-duty vehicles

Heavy-duty vehicles – trucks and buses – are responsible for about a quarter of CO2 emissions from road transport in the EU and for some 5% of total EU emissions.

On 20 June 2019, the European Parliament and the Council adopted Regulation (EU) 2019/1242 setting CO2 emission standards for heavy-duty vehicles, with targets for reducing the average emissions from new lorries for 2025 and 2030.

Fuel quality

Fuel quality is an important element in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from transport. EU legislation requires the greenhouse gas intensity of vehicle fuels to be cut by up to 10% by 2020.

Links to related EU policies

Other links


Studies supporting the development of EU policy on CO2 emissions from road transport

The information and views set out in the reports and studies published below are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the Commission. The Commission does not guarantee the accuracy of the data included in these reports and studies. Neither the Commission nor any person acting on the Commission’s behalf may be held responsible for the use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Studies dealing specifically with CO2 emissions from heavy-duty vehicles can be found on a separate web page.


Determining the environmental impacts of conventional and alternatively fuelled vehicles through LCA
1. Main report
Accompanying documents
2. Summary of the Delphi Survey Round 1 Responses (Appendix A2.1 to the report)
3. Summary of the Delphi Survey Round 2 Responses (Appendix A2.2 to the report)
4. Critical Review report
Results viewer:
5a. Introduction
5b. Results viewer

2017Assessment of the Modalities for LDV CO2 Regulations beyond 2020
2016Data gathering and analysis to improve understanding of the second hand car and LCV markets and implications for cost effectiveness and social equity of LDV CO2 regulations
Consideration of LDV leasing in relation to the cost effectiveness of LDV CO2 regulation
Consideration of the role of speed limiters in the light commercial vehicle CO2 regulation
Consideration of the impacts of LDV scrappage schemes
Exploration of EU road vehicle fuel consumption and disaggregation
Fitment and pricing of optional extras onto new motor vehicles in the UK and their resale in the used market
Supporting analysis on real-world light-duty vehicle CO2 emissions
2015Evaluation of Light Duty Vehicle CO2 emission Regulations
Competitiveness impacts of post-2020 LDV CO2 Regulation
Competitiveness study mindmaps
LDV mass reduction potential and future CO2 Regulation (Appendices)
Impact of mileage on cost effectiveness of LDV CO2 Regulation
Improvements to the definition of lifetime mileage of light duty vehicles
Correction algorithms for WLTP chassis dynamometer and coast-down testing
2013Consideration of alternative approaches to regulating CO2 emissions from light duty road vehicles for the period after 2020
Analysis of the influence of metrics for future CO2 legislation for Light Duty Vehicles on deployment of technologies and GHG abatement costs
2012Support for the revision of regulation on CO2 emissions from light commercial vehicles
2011Impacts of electric vehicles - Summary Report
An overview of Electric Vehicles on the market and in development
Assessment of electric vehicle and battery technology
Assessment of the future electricity sector
Economic analysis and business models
Impact analysis for market uptake scenarios and policy implications
2011Uncertainty/Sensitivity analysis of the transport model TREMOVE
Support for the revision of Regulation (EC) No 443/2009 on CO2 emissions from carsReport on the Effect of the Regulations and the Standards on Vehicle Prices
2011JRC Report: Analyzing on-road emissions of light-duty vehicles with Portable Emission Measurement Systems (PEMS) - Corrigendum
2010Graphical User Interface for the European Transport Model TREMOVE
2010Update and further development of transport model TREMOVE
European second-hand car market analysis and (data)
2009Assessment with respect to long term CO2 emission targets for passenger cars and vans
2008Impacts of regulatory options to reduce CO2 emissions from cars, in particular on car manufacturers
Assessment of options for the legislation of CO2 emissions from light commercial vehicles
2007JRC Report: Mobile Measurement of Pollutant Emissions and Fuel Consumption of Road Vehicles In Real-World Driving Situations Using Portable Emission Measurement Systems (PEMS)
Possible regulatory approaches to reducing CO2 emissions from cars
- Final report
- Technical notes annexed to the final report
- Data tables and graphs for Technical Note 9
2006Review and analysis of the reduction potential and costs of technological and other measures to reduce CO2-emissions from passenger carsSupport of the Impact Assessment of Various Policy Scenarios to Reduce CO2 Emissions from Passenger Cars
Results of TREMOVE runs carried out in preparation of the review of the CO2 and cars strategy
2005Service contract to carry out economic analysis and business impact assessment of CO2 emission reduction measures in the automotive sector: Final Report and Annexes)
Development of a procedure for the determination of the additional fuel consumption of passenger cars (M1 vehicles) due to the use of mobile air conditioning equipment
2004Review of the commitment of car manufacturers to reduce CO2 emissions from M1 vehicles
Measuring and preparing reduction measures for CO2 emissions from N1 vehicles
2002Options to integrate the use of mobile airconditioning systems and auxiliary heaters into the emission type approval test and the fuel consumption test for passenger cars (M1 vehicles)