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Explaining Truck Euro Emission Standards by Laura Jeeves

Explaining Truck Euro Emission Standards by
Article Posted: 04/24/2017
Article Views: 261
Articles Written: 4248
Word Count: 669
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Explaining Truck Euro Emission Standards

We all know that working in the haulage and logistics industry cannot be glitz and glamour all the time. Those moments when you have to address the exciting world of emission standards can put a little damper on the high life. All joking aside, haulage companies must stay compliant with all Euro emission standards or run the risk of some hefty fines. So it is worthwhile delving into the details of this directive to make sure your fleet is within regulation standards so we can all get back on the road again.

The Good News

Back in 1988, Europe introduced their first heavy-vehicle emission standards in an effort to curb pollutants that were contributing to poor air quality, especially in urban environments. Many countries, since the standards were implemented in 1992, have followed suit and developed their own regulations that are mostly aligned with the European standards. This means that once your vehicles meet the European standards, you are pretty much in compliance with everywhere.

The Fine Print

The original standards required haulage companies to maintain their fleet within certain emission limits. These applied to both truck engines and urban buses. The testing for these emission levels is conducted on the engine only, and not on the vehicle as a whole.

In 1999, the EU adopted a directive that set voluntary emission levels to a slightly more strict level to be applied to ‘enhanced environmentally friendly vehicles’ also known as EEVs. The additions and amendments to the original directive included:

  • Defeat Devices – In 2001 the European Commission prohibited the use of ‘defeat devices’ for emissions and also ‘irrational’ emission control strategies. These typically falsely reduced the efficiency of emission control systems for vehicles under normal driving conditions to levels below those found during emission testing procedures.
  • Durability and On Board Diagnostic Devices – Amendments adopted by the EU in 2005 required greater use and compliance from vehicles’ OBDs.
Increasingly Stringent Standards

Many haulage companies, back in the day, attempted ‘work arounds’ that kept their vehicles barely under the wire of compliance. However, others have attempted to stay abreast with the changes and fully invest in technology that maintains their fleets’ compliance, and allows for ‘tweaking’ in anticipation of further regulations on top of that. Additional provisions from the Euro VI, introduced in 2009, included :

  • An ammonia (NH3) concentration limit of 10 ppm applied to diesel (WHSC + WHTC) and gas (WHTC) engines.
  • A maximum limit for the NO2 component of NOx emissions may be defined in the implementing regulation.
  • New testing requirements for off-cycle emissions (OCE) and in-service conformity (in-use testing).
Silver Lining

The EU also allowed member states to use tax incentives to stimulate the manufacturing and sales of vehicles that met the new standards ahead of the deadline. The use of incentives did come with some restrictions such as:

  • They apply to all new vehicles offered for sale on the market of EU Member States that comply in advance with the mandatory limit values set out by the directive.
  • They terminate when the new limit values come into effect.
  • They must not exceed the additional cost of the technical solutions introduced for each type of vehicle. This is to ensure compliance with the limit values.
However, these tax incentives have enticed many haulage companies to make the change sooner rather than later. In the effort to clear the air in urban environments these measures, although laborious for many in the logistics industry, are necessary. Haulage companies know better than most that embracing the future and its changes is far gentler than fighting it!


Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry. Connecting professionals across the UK and Europe through their website, Haulage Exchange provides services for matching haulage companies with jobs in road transport and haulage work. Over 4,000 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.

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