Limited environmental benefits with Euro 7 proposal

For many, the publication of the long-awaited Euro 7 was a large disappointment. The proposal suggests maintaining the Euro 6 standards for tailpipe NOx emissions of 60 mg/km for petrol cars (down from 80 mg for diesel) in its updated standards. Only the limit for carbon monoxide is reduced (from 1000 to 500 mg/km).

One of the main arguments for a lower ambition level comes from the car industry lobby group ACEA. They do not find it economically viable to stop polluting our cities as much. But is it unaffordable when the impact assessment puts the average cost per vehicle to cut toxic emissions by 50% at just €300? The Impact Assessment also shows that this reduction level is achievable with existing technology and requires no engine hardware change. Here are some observations on that cost:

“Despite enjoying record profits, carmakers have sold the Commission a lie that an ambitious Euro 7 is unaffordable,” said Anna Krajinska vehicle emissions and air quality manager at NGO Transport & Environment (T&E).

“Unfortunately, the environmental benefit of the Commission’s proposal is very limited, whereas it heavily increases the cost of vehicles,” said Oliver Zipse, president of the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) and chief executive of BMW.

T&E has estimated that the new proposal will lead to 100 million new cars sold from when Euro 7 enters into force in 2025 until the ban on ICE vehicles takes effect in 2035. These cars will stay on the roads, polluting our cities for decades to come. This makes even a small contribution per car a massive health problem for years to come, stunting children’s lungs and impacting mortality.

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