Emission standard

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Emission standards are requirements that set specific limits to the amount of pollutants that can be released into the environment. Many emissions standards focus on regulating pollutants released by automobiles (motor cars) and other powered vehicles but they can also regulate emissions from industry, power plants, small equipment such as lawn mowers and diesel generators. Frequent policy alternatives to emissions standards are technology standards.

Vehicle emission performance standard[edit]

An emission performance standard is a limit that sets thresholds above which a different type of emission control technology might be needed. While emission performance standards have been used to dictate limits for conventional pollutants such as oxides of nitrogen and oxides of sulfur (NOx and SOx),[1] this regulatory technique may be used to regulate greenhouse gasses, particularly carbon dioxide (CO2). In the US, this is given in pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt-hour (lbs. CO2/MWhr), and kilograms CO2/MWhr elsewhere.


United States of America[edit]

In the United States, emissions standards are managed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The state of California has special vehicle emissions standards, and other states may choose to follow either the national or California standards.

California's emissions standards are set by the California Air Resources Board, known locally by its acronym "CARB". Given that California's automotive market is one of the largest in the world, CARB wields enormous influence over the emissions requirements that major automakers must meet if they wish to sell into that market. In addition, several other U.S. states also choose to follow the CARB standards, so their rulemaking has broader implications within the U.S. By mid-2009, 16 other states had adopted CARB rules.[2] CARB's policies have also influenced EU emissions standards.

Federal (National) "Tier 1" regulations went into effect starting in 1994, and "Tier 2" standards are being phased in from 2004 to 2009. Automobiles and light trucks (SUVs, pickup trucks, and minivans) are treated differently under certain standards.

California is attempting to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles, but faces a court challenge from the federal government. The states are also attempting to compel the federal EPA to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, which as of 2007 it has declined to do. On May 19, 2009 news reports indicate that the Federal EPA will largely adopt California's standards on greenhouse gas emissions.

California and several other western states have passed bills requiring performance-based regulation of greenhouse gases from electricity generation.

In an effort to decrease emissions from heavy-duty diesel engines faster, the California Air Resources Board's Carl Moyer Program funds upgrades that are in advance of regulations.

The EPA has separate regulations for small engines, such as groundskeeping equipment. The states must also promulgate miscellaneous emissions regulations in order to comply with the National Ambient Air Quality Standards.


European Union[edit]

The European Union has its own set of emissions standards that all new vehicles must meet. Currently, standards are set for all road vehicles, trains, barges and 'nonroad mobile machinery' (such as tractors). No standards apply to seagoing ships or airplanes.

EU Regulation No 443/2009 sets an average CO2 emissions target for new passenger cars of 130 grams per kilometre. The target is gradually being phased in between 2012 and 2015. A target of 95 grams per kilometre will apply from 2021.

For light commercial vehicle, an emissions target of 175 g/km applies from 2017, and 147 g/km from 2020.[3]

The EU is to introduce Euro 4 effective January 1, 2008, Euro 5 effective January 1, 2010 and Euro 6 effective January 1, 2014. These dates have been postponed for two years to give oil refineries the opportunity to modernize their plants.


The British Parliament proposed legislation regulating CO2 emissions from electricity generation via emission performance standards.[4] This bill was even more stringent than that of the western American states in that it limited production to the equivalent of 450 kg CO2/MWh, which would effectively preclude the construction of any traditional or unabated coal-fired power plants, though notably allowing new gas fired power stations or coal firing with CCS.

Several local authorities in the UK have introduced Euro 4 or Euro 5 emissions standards for taxis and licensed private hire vehicles to operate in their area.[5][6][7]


According to the German federal automotive office 37.3% (15.4 million) cars in Germany (total car population 41.3 million) conform to the Euro 4 standard from Jan 2009.



Due to rapidly expanding wealth and prosperity, the number of coal power plants and cars on China's roads is rapidly growing, creating an ongoing pollution problem. China enacted its first emissions controls on automobiles in 2000, equivalent to Euro I standards. China's State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) upgraded emission controls again on July 1, 2004 to the Euro II standard.[8] More stringent emission standard, National Standard III, equivalent to Euro III standards, went into effect on July 1, 2007.[9] Plans are for Euro IV standards to take effect in 2010. Beijing introduced the Euro IV standard in advance on January 1, 2008, became the first city in mainland China to adopt this standard.[10]

Hong Kong[edit]

From Jan 1, 2006, all new passenger cars with spark-ignition engines in Hong Kong must meet either Euro IV petrol standard, Japanese Heisei 17 standard or US EPA Tier 2 Bin 5 standard. For new passenger cars with compression-ignition engines, they must meet US EPA Tier 2 Bin 5 standard.


Bharat stage emission standards are emission standards instituted by the Government of India to regulate the output of air pollutants from internal combustion engine equipment, including motor vehicles. The standards and the timeline for implementation are set by the Central Pollution Control Board under the Ministry of Environment & Forests.

The standards, based on European regulations were first introduced in 2000. Progressively stringent norms have been rolled out since then. All new vehicles manufactured after the implementation of the norms have to be compliant with the regulations.Since October 2010, Bharat stage III norms have been enforced across the country. In 13 major cities, Bharat stage IV emission norms are in place since April 2010.


The first Indian emission regulations were idle emission limits which became effective in 1989. These idle emission regulations were soon replaced by mass emission limits for both petrol (1991) and diesel (1992) vehicles, which were gradually tightened during the 1990s. Since the year 2000, India started adopting European emission and fuel regulations for four-wheeled light-duty and for heavy-dc. Indian own emission regulations still apply to two- and three-wheeled vehicles.

Current requirement is that all transport vehicles carry a fitness certificate that is renewed each year after the first two years of new vehicle registration.

On October 6, 2003, the National Auto Fuel Policy has been announced, which envisages a phased program for introducing Euro 2 - 4 emission and fuel regulations by 2010. The implementation schedule of EU emission standards in India is summarized in Table 1.[11]

Table 1: Indian Emission Standards (4-Wheel Vehicles)
Standard Reference Date Region
India 2000 Euro 1 2000 Nationwide
Bharat Stage II Euro 2 2001 NCR*, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai
2003.04 NCR*, 12 Cities†
2005.04 Nationwide
Bharat Stage III Euro 3 2005.04 NCR*, 12 Cities†
2010.04 Nationwide
Bharat Stage IV Euro 4 2010.04 NCR*, 12 Cities†
* National Capital Region (Delhi)

† Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Pune, Surat, Kanpur, Lucknow, Sholapur, and Agra

The above standards apply to all new 4-wheel vehicles sold and registered in the respective regions. In addition, the National Auto Fuel Policy introduces certain emission requirements for interstate buses with routes originating or terminating in Delhi or the other 10 cities.

For 2-and 3-wheelers, Bharat Stage II (Euro 2) will be applicable from April 1, 2005 and Stage III (Euro 3) standards would come in force preferably from April 1, 2008, but not later than April 1, 2010.[12]

Trucks and buses[edit]

Emission standards for new heavy-duty diesel engines—applicable to vehicles of GVW > 3,500 kg—are listed in Table 1. Emissions are tested over the ECE R49 13-mode test (through the Euro II stage)

Table 2 Emission Standards for Diesel Truck and Bus Engines, g/kWh
Year Reference CO HC NOx PM
1992 - 17.3-32.6 2.7-3.7 - -
1996 - 11.20 2.40 14.4 -
2000 Euro I 4.5 1.1 8.0 0.36*
2005† Euro II 4.0 1.1 7.0 0.15
2010† Euro III 2.1 0.66 5.0 0.10
* 0.612 for engines below 85 kW

† earlier introduction in selected regions, see Table 1

More details on Euro I-III regulations can be found in the EU heavy-duty engine standards page.

Light duty diesel vehicles[edit]

Emission standards for light-duty diesel vehicles (GVW ≤ 3,500 kg) are summarized in Table 3. Ranges of emission limits refer to different classes (by reference mass) of light commercial vehicles; compare the EU light-duty vehicle emission standards page for details on the Euro 1 and later standards. The lowest limit in each range applies to passenger cars (GVW ≤ 2,500 kg; up to 6 seats).

Table 3 Emission Standards for Light-Duty Diesel Vehicles, g/km
Year Reference CO HC HC+NOx PM
1992 - 17.3-32.6 2.7-3.7 - -
1996 - 5.0-9.0 - 2.0-4.0 -
2000 Euro 1 2.72-6.90 - 0.97-1.70 0.14-0.25
2005† Euro 2 1.0-1.5 - 0.7-1.2 0.08-0.17
† earlier introduction in selected regions, see Table 1

The test cycle has been the ECE + EUDC for low power vehicles (with maximum speed limited to 90 km/h). Before 2000, emissions were measured over an Indian test cycle.

Engines for use in light-duty vehicles can be also emission tested using an engine dynamometer. The respective emission standards are listed in Table 4.

Table 4 Emission Standards for Light-Duty Diesel Engines, g/kWh
Year Reference CO HC NOx PM
1992 - 14.0 3.5 18.0 -
1996 - 11.20 2.40 14.4 -
2000 Euro I 4.5 1.1 8.0 0.36*
2005† Euro II 4.0 1.1 7.0 0.15
* 0.612 for engines below 85 kW

† earlier introduction in selected regions, see Table 1

Light duty gasoline vehicles[edit]

4-wheel vehicles[edit]

Emissions standards for gasoline vehicles (GVW ≤ 3,500 kg) are summarized in Table 5. Ranges of emission limits refer to different classes of light commercial vehicles (compare the EU light-duty vehicle emission standards page). The lowest limit in each range applies to passenger cars (GVW ≤ 2,500 kg; up to 6 seats).

Table 5 Emission Standards for Gasoline Vehicles (GVW ≤ 3,500 kg), g/km
Year Reference CO HC HC+NOx
1991 - 14.3-27.1 2.0-2.9 -
1996 - 8.68-12.4 - 3.00-4.36
1998* - 4.34-6.20 - 1.50-2.18
2000 Euro 1 2.72-6.90 - 0.97-1.70
2005† Euro 2 2.2-5.0 - 0.5-0.7
* for catalytic converter fitted vehicles

† earlier introduction in selected regions, see Table 1

Gasoline vehicles must also meet an evaporative (SHED) limit of 2 g/test (effective 2000).

3- and 2-wheel vehicles[edit]

Emission standards for 3- and 2-wheel gasoline vehicles are listed in the following tables.[13]

Table 6 Emission Standards for 3-Wheel Gasoline Vehicles, g/km
1991 12-30 8-12 -
1996 6.75 - 5.40
2000 4.00 - 2.00
2005 (BS II) 2.25 - 2.00
Table 7 Emission Standards for 2-Wheel Gasoline Vehicles, g/km
1991 12-30 8-12 -
1996 5.50 - 3.60 4.60

Overview of the emission norms in India by CDR[edit]

  • 1991 - Idle CO Limits for Gasoline Vehicles and Free Acceleration Smoke for Diesel Vehicles, Mass Emission Norms for Gasoline Vehicles.
  • 1992 - Mass Emission Norms for Diesel Vehicles.
  • 1996 - Revision of Mass Emission Norms for Gasoline and Diesel Vehicles, mandatory fitment of Catalytic Converter for Cars in Metros on Unleaded Gasoline.
  • 1998 - Cold Start Norms Introduced .
  • 2000 - India 2000 (Eq. to Euro I) Norms, Modified IDC (Indian Driving Cycle), Bharat Stage II Norms for Delhi.
  • 2001 - Bharat Stage II (Eq. to Euro II) Norms for All Metros, Emission Norms for CNG & LPG Vehicles.
  • 2003 - Bharat Stage II (Eq. to Euro II) Norms for 11 major cities.
  • 2005 - From 1 April Bharat Stage III (Eq. to Euro III) Norms for 11 major cities.
  • 2010 - Bharat Stage III Emission Norms for 4-wheelers for entire country whereas Bharat Stage - IV (Eq. to Euro IV) for 13 major cities. Bharat Stage IV also has norms on OBD (similar to Euro III but diluted)



Starting June 10, 1968, the Japanese Government passed the (Japanese: Air Pollution Control Act) which regulated all sources of air pollutants. As a result of the 1968 law, dispute resolutions were passed under the 1970 (Japanese: Air Pollution Dispute Resolution Act). As a result of the 1970 law, in 1973 the first installment of four sets of new emissions standards were introduced. Interim standards were introduced on January 1, 1975 and again for 1976. The final set of standards were introduced for 1978.[14] While the standards were introduced they were not made immediately mandatory, instead tax breaks were offered for cars which passed them.[15] The standards were based on those adopted by the original US Clean Air Act of 1970, but the test cycle included more slow city driving to correctly reflect the Japanese situation.[16] The 1978 limits for mean emissions during a "Hot Start Test" of CO, hydrocarbons, and NOx were 2.1 grams per kilometre (3.38 g/mi) of CO, .25 grams per kilometre (0.40 g/mi) of HC, and .25 grams per kilometre (0.40 g/mi) of NOx respectively.[16] Maximum limits are 2.7 grams per kilometre (4.35 g/mi) of CO, .39 grams per kilometre (0.63 g/mi) of HC, and .48 grams per kilometre (0.77 g/mi) of NOx. The "10 - 15 Mode Hot Cycle" test, used to determine individual fuel economy ratings and emissions observed from the vehicle being tested, use a specific testing regime.[17][18][19]

In 1992, to cope with NOx pollution problems from existing vehicle fleets in highly populated metropolitan areas, the Ministry of the Environment adopted the “(Japanese: Law Concerning Special Measures to Reduce the Total Amount of Nitrogen Oxides Emitted from Motor Vehicles in Specified Areas)”, called in short The Motor Vehicle NOx Law. The regulation designated a total of 196 communities in the Tokyo, Saitama, Kanagawa, Osaka and Hyogo Prefectures as areas with significant air pollution due to nitrogen oxides emitted from motor vehicles. Under the Law, several measures had to be taken to control NOx from in-use vehicles, including enforcing emission standards for specified vehicle categories.

The regulation was amended in June 2001 to tighten the existing NOx requirements and to add PM control provisions. The amended rule is called the “Law Concerning Special Measures to Reduce the Total Amount of Nitrogen Oxides and Particulate Matter Emitted from Motor Vehicles in Specified Areas”, or in short the Automotive NOx and PM Law.

Emission Standards

The NOx and PM Law introduces emission standards for specified categories of in-use highway vehicles including commercial goods (cargo) vehicles such as trucks and vans, buses, and special purpose motor vehicles, irrespective of the fuel type. The regulation also applies to diesel powered passenger cars (but not to gasoline cars).

In-use vehicles in the specified categories must meet 1997/98 emission standards for the respective new vehicle type (in the case of heavy duty engines NOx = 4.5 g/kWh, PM = 0.25 g/kWh). In other words, the 1997/98 new vehicle standards are retroactively applied to older vehicles already on the road. Vehicle owners have two methods to comply:

  1. Replace old vehicles with newer, cleaner models
  2. Retrofit old vehicles with approved NOx and PM control devices

Vehicles have a grace period, between 8 and 12 years from the initial registration, to comply. The grace period depends on the vehicle type, as follows:

  • Light commercial vehicles (GVW ≤ 2500 kg): 8 years
  • Heavy commercial vehicles (GVW > 2500 kg): 9 years
  • Micro buses (11-29 seats): 10 years
  • Large buses (≥ 30 seats): 12 years
  • Special vehicles (based on a cargo truck or bus): 10 years
  • Diesel passenger cars: 9 years

Furthermore, the regulation allows fulfillment of its requirements to be postponed by an additional 0.5-2.5 years, depending on the age of the vehicle. This delay was introduced in part to harmonize the NOx and PM Law with the Tokyo diesel retrofit program.

The NOx and PM Law is enforced in connection with Japanese vehicle inspection program, where non-complying vehicles cannot undergo the inspection in the designated areas. This, in turn, may trigger an injunction on the vehicle operation under the Road Transport Vehicle Law.


Since January 2012 vehicles which do not comply with Euro 5 emission values are not allowed to be imported to Israel.


South Africa[edit]

South Africa’s first clean fuels programme was implemented in 2006 with the banning of lead from petrol and the reduction of sulphur levels in diesel from 3 000 parts per million (ppm) to 500ppm, along with a niche grade of 50ppm.

The Clean Fuels 2 standard, expected to begin in 2017, includes the reduction of sulphur to 10ppm; the lowering of benzene from 5 percent to 1 percent of volume; the reduction of aromatics from 50 percent to 35 percent of volume; and the specification of olefins at 18 percent of volume.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ [1][dead link]
  2. ^ How Stuff Works: CARB
  3. ^ International Council on Clean Transportation (January 2014). "EU CO2 standards for passenger cars and light-commercial vehicles". Retrieved 5 February 2014. 
  4. ^ Table Office, House of Commons. "House of Commons Amendments". Publications.parliament.uk. Retrieved 2011-02-02. 
  5. ^ "Taxi emissions ruling set for January start". Woking News & Mail. 18 October 2013. Retrieved 17 December 2013. 
  6. ^ "Chichester District Council: European emission standard EURO 4". Chichester District Council. Retrieved 2013-12-13. 
  7. ^ "European technology emission standards: how to check your vehicle". Plymouth City Council. Retrieved 2013-12-13. 
  8. ^ "China to adopt auto emission standard equal to Euro III in 2008". Chinadaily.com.cn. 2004-07-07. Retrieved 2011-02-02. 
  9. ^ "China Launches Tougher Auto Emission Standard". English.cri.cn. Retrieved 2011-02-02. 
  10. ^ "China: Beijing launches Euro 4 standards". Automotiveworld.com. 2008-01-04. Retrieved 2011-02-02. 
  11. ^ "Vehicular Technology in India | Emission Norms". SIAM India. Retrieved 2011-02-02. 
  12. ^ "Emission Standards: India: On-Road Vehicles and Engines". Dieselnet.com. Retrieved 2009-06-29. 
  13. ^ "Vehicular Technology in India | Emission Norms - SIAM India". SIAM India. Retrieved 2009-06-29. 
  14. ^ Yamaguchi, Jack K. (1979), "The Year of Uncertainty?", in Lösch, Annamaria, World Cars 1979 (Pelham, NY: The Automobile Club of Italy/Herald Books): 61–62, ISBN 0-910714-11-8 
  15. ^ Yamaguchi, Jack K. (1977), "The Year of the Third Power", World Cars 1977 (Pelham, NY: The Automobile Club of Italy/Herald Books): 54, ISBN 0-910714-09-6 
  16. ^ a b Yamaguchi, Jack K. (1978), "Successes- Excesses", in Lösch, Annamaria, World Cars 1978 (Pelham, NY: The Automobile Club of Italy/Herald Books): 61, ISBN 0-910714-10-X 
  17. ^ http://www.walshcarlines.com/pdf/Global%20Vehicle%20Emissions%20Standards%20Tables.pdf Japanese gasoline emission limits page 28
  18. ^ Emission Test Cycles: Japanese 10-15 Mode
  19. ^ fuel$aver.govt.nz

External links[edit]