EU's Watered-Down Emissions Standard: A Greenwashing Sham

EU’s Watered-Down Emissions Standard: A Greenwashing Sham

The EU Parliament has approved a new emissions standard called “Euro 7” that does not provide significant improvements in air pollution control compared to the previous Euro 6 standard.

The standard maintains the same limit for nitrous oxide (NOx) emissions from petrol cars and only slightly improves testing methods to ensure compliance with the limits. This decision is seen as a way to deceive the public into thinking that dirty cars are environmentally friendly.

Car manufacturers often promote their vehicles as “clean” by adhering to the “Euro” air pollution standard, which is also used by regulators to determine eligibility for low-emission zones and reduced vehicle taxes.


The new Euro 7 law, compared to the original proposal, will:

  • Weaken emission limits for trucks, allowing approximately 2 x higher NOx limits;
  • Weaken emission limits for vans to be 30% weaker on NOx;
  • Weaken testing conditions for cars including on acceleration, temperature and altitude back to Euro 6 requirements;
  • Severely weaken testing requirements for trucks, almost entirely reverting back to Euro 6 standards;
  • Severely delay implementation of Euro 7, meaning cars won’t have to comply with limits until three years after all associated regulation is adopted. For trucks the rules won’t apply until 2030 at the earliest.

European newspapers have reported that the car industry used false information to launch a lobbying campaign against Euro 7 plans, which could have saved 35,000 lives.

The EU Parliament will engage in negotiations with the EU Council and Commission to finalize the law. The EU Council is backing a less stringent version of Euro 7. Green group Transport & Environment (T&E) suggests that if the law is not renamed during negotiations, the EU Commission should withdraw it. They argue that the negative impact of misleadingly promoting polluting vehicles would outweigh any small improvements made by Euro 7.

Republished from Transport & Environment; edited by Clean-Future Team