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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 It replaced and repealed the former Regulations (EC) 443/2009 (cars) and (EU) 510/2011 (vans).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 19 April 2023, the European Parliament and the Council adopted Regulation (EU) 2023/851 amending Regulation (EU) 2019/631 to strengthen the CO2 emission performance standards for new passenger cars and new light commercial vehicles in line with the European Union’s increased climate ambition.

In particular, the amendment strengthens the emission targets applying from 2030 and sets a 100% reduction target from 2035 onwards.


The amended Regulation (EU) 2019/631 will:

  • contribute to reaching at least 55% net greenhouse gas emission reductions by 2030 compared to 1990 and to achieving climate neutrality by 2050, in line with the European Climate Law,
  • provide benefits to EU citizens and vehicle users from a wider deployment of clean and affordable zero-emission vehicles,
  • stimulate innovation in zero-emission technologies, strengthening the technological leadership of the automotive value chain and stimulating employment in the EU.

Target levels

The EU fleet-wide CO2 emission targets set in the Regulation are as follows:

2020 to 2024

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

These target levels refer to the NEDC emission test procedure.

Since 2021, the emission targets for manufacturers are based on the WLTP (Worldwide harmonized Light vehicles Test Procedure), .

For the period starting in 2025, the EU fleet-wide CO2 emission targets are defined as a percentage reduction from a 2021 starting point. The Commission will publish the corresponding WLTP-based targets in g CO2/km in the upcoming Decision on the 2021 monitoring data.

2025 to 2029

  • Cars: 15% reduction
  • Vans: 15% reduction

2030 to 2034

  • Cars: 55% reduction
  • Vans: 50% reduction

From 2035 onwards, the EU fleet-wide CO2 emission target for both cars and vans is a 100% reduction, meaning 0 g CO2/km. The annual specific emission targets of each manufacturer are based on these EU fleet-wide targets, taking into account the average 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 will apply both for car and van manufacturers. Following the amendments introduced in 2023, this system will apply until the end of 2029. 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 (as amended by Regulation (EU) 2023/851):

  • Cars: 25% ZLEV
  • Vans: 17% ZLEV

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 in the following year, 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 will be a 45% reduction from its average emissions in 2007. In the years 2025 to 2028, the derogation target will be an additional 15% lower.

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 (until 2024), 6 g CO2/km from 2025 until 2029 and 4 g CO2/km from 2030 until and including 2034. 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 is collecting real-world data of cars and vans using on-board fuel consumption monitoring (OBFCM) devices., starting with vehicles placed on the market in 2021.

More information can be found here.


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