Car Emission Standards: Everything to Know for 2022

Since the 1970s, the UK has had rules and regulations when it comes to car emission standards. In recent times, there has been a growing concern about the negative effects of car emissions on the environment and the health of people, especially in major cities. That’s why the laws concerning car emissions have become stricter. These days, the Euro 6 emission rules are being fully implemented. 

Every person may have his or her personal take on climate change but regardless of one’s opinions, the stricter laws cannot be avoided. For example, we now have the London ULEZ scheme as well as the Birmingham Clean Air Zone. Any driver who enters a major city needs to be aware of these zones and the fees necessary to drive in the area. 

If you want to know more about the Euro 6 Emission Standards, we’ve put together this guide to help you understand it better and easier. Having this knowledge on the car emission standards will help you when checking the car you want to buy if it’s a Euro 6 vehicle, planning your road trips to different cities with clean air zones, and much more. 

The Euro 6 Emission Standards

Cars that run on diesel or petrol produce exhaust emissions because that’s part of how they work to make the vehicle run. With the Euro 6, vehicle manufacturers have to abide by certain standards to ensure that the vehicles they make only produce emissions below a specific limit. 

All types of vehicles are tested, except for ships and aeroplanes. Whether they are trucks, scooters, motorcycles, and any kind of car, these vehicles need to meet the emission standards so they can be Euro 6 compliant. Without this, they are not allowed to be sold in any country within the EU. 

A Brief History of the Euro 6

The first laws that covered vehicle emissions we first implemented in the 1970s. In 1993, the Euro 1 was introduced. All of the Euro emission standards were amendments that had stricter testing and limits. Euro 6 began in 2015 and as of January 2021, we have the Euro 6d. 

The whole point of having these emission standards have been to address the air pollution that has been affecting human health and the environment. In the UK alone in 2015, 34% of all nitrogen oxide emissions came from road transport. 

The effects of air pollution from vehicle exhaust emissions were worse in urban areas. It caused acid rain and smog, along with a number of health problems among the residents. Traditional combustion-engine vehicles also produce carbon monoxide, which is a leading cause of climate change. 

In a few years, we can expect the Euro 7 to be introduced. This will have even lower emissions standards but the hope is that this law will be much clearer, especially with the Euro 6 having various testing standards that have led to a lot of confusion. 

Even with Brexit, the Euro emissions standards are most likely here to stay. Carmakers will continue to follow the compliance specifications of the Euro 6. Many countries outside of Europe are also following the EU’s example and are adopting similar emissions standards. 

How the Euro 6 Affects Vehicle Owners 

The Euro 6 can affect every vehicle owner in the UK in a number of ways. The first one is how much you’d have to pay for your car tax. For vehicles registered from 1st March 2001 onwards, the tax is dependent on the fuel type and CO2 emissions. Cars that run on diesel need to meet the RDE2 standards to be compliant with the Euro 6d and pay significantly less tax for their first registration year. 

Apart from vehicle tax, another noticeable effect of the Euro 6 is that more and more cities implement a low emission zone or clean air zone. For example, in London, we have the London Ultra Low Emissions Zone. 

It mainly affects diesel vehicles that are non-Euro 6 compliant and petrol vehicles that are non-Euro 4 compliant. Owners of these vehicles need to pay a daily fee of £12.50 to drive within the zone. These zones are also present in other European countries. Some cities focus on passenger cars and heavy goods vehicles. 

Is My Car Compliant with the Euro 6?

All brand new vehicles registered from 1st September 2015 have to be compliant with the Euro 6 emission standards. Vehicles registered from September 2018 will have this information in their V5C document. 

In case you’re not sure about the emissions rating of your car, you may want to try a vehicle-specific check. Different trims and car specifications for every model can affect the emissions ratings. 

Many carmakers have been producing vehicles that are Euro 6 compliant since 2012 so your car might already be compliant with the emissions standards. To be sure, you can do an online check on your car. Many websites and car manufacturers provide a checking tool where you can do a search to check whether your car is Euro 6 compliant or not. 


If you have an older vehicle and you’re thinking about buying a new one, it might be worth considering getting a full-electric vehicle. With a non-combustion engine car, you don’t have to worry about emissions and charges in clean air zones. With today’s laws, it’s more practical and convenient to have an electric car. Not only that, but you’ll also help in keeping the good air quality in our cities. Think about it!