Euro 5 emissions standards for cars

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The EU has adopted strict new caps on pollutant emissions from diesel and petrol cars, limiting in particular nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter (PM) which pose the most serious health and environmental problems.

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Road transport contributes to air quality problems through vehicle emissions. Poor air quality leads to health problems such as respiratory and cardiovascular disease.

To preserve air quality, cars must meet certain standards for exhaust emissions before they can be approved for sale in the European Union. Successive 'Euro' emission standards for passenger cars and light vehicles were initiated in the EU as of 1993.

They have already helped achieve considerable reduction in air pollution from cars, for example by forcing carmakers to fit catalyst filters to exhaust pipes. Heavy-duty trucks and buses, off-road diesel vehicles and motorcycles are subject to separate emissions regulations, as are emissions of carbon dioxide (see EurActiv LinksDossier on Cars and CO2).

Reducing vehicle emissions is part of a larger strategy to tackle the negative health and environmental effects of air pollution created by all sectors. This so-called thematic strategy on air pollution was adopted by the Commission in September 2005, along with a Directive on ambient air quality, as part of the 6th environmental action programme and its related Clean Air for Europe (CAFE) programme launched in 2001(LinksDossier on the 6th EAP).