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Information on the fuel consumption and CO₂ emissions of new cars

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Information on the fuel consumption and CO₂ emissions of new cars

To help consumers choose vehicles with low fuel consumption, the European Union requires dealers in new passenger cars to provide potential buyers with useful information on these vehicles' fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. This information must be displayed on the car's label, on posters and other promotional material, and in specific guides.


Directive 1999/94/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 December 1999 relating to the availability of consumer information on fuel economy and CO2 emissions in respect of the marketing of new passenger cars [See amending act(s)].


At the December 1997 Kyoto Conference on climate change, the Community undertook to reduce its emissions of a basket of greenhouse gases by 8 % during the period 2008 to 2012 relative to 1990 levels. This Directive is part of an overall Community strategy aimed at meeting this commitment to reduce CO2 emissions, in particular those caused by passenger cars.

The purpose of the Directive is to ensure that information relating to the fuel economy and CO2 emissions of new passenger cars offered for sale or lease in the Community is made available to consumers. This consumer information system is to be set up using the following four methods:

  • attaching a fuel consumption and CO2 emissions label to the vehicle;
  • producing a fuel consumption and CO2 emissions guide;
  • displaying posters in car showrooms;
  • including fuel consumption and CO2 emissions data in promotional material.

The Directive stipulates that a fuel economy label must be attached to the windscreen of all new passenger cars at the point of sale. This label must be clearly visible and meet certain requirements set out in Annex I. In particular, it must contain an estimate of fuel consumption, expressed in litres per 100 kilometres or in kilometres per litre (or in miles per gallon), and of CO2 emissions.

A fuel economy guide must be produced at national level at least once a year. It must set out all the information specified in Annex II, including a list of the 10 most fuel-efficient new car versions in terms of their CO2 emissions by fuel type. This guide must be compact, portable and free of charge. Consumers must be able to obtain it both at the point of sale of the dealer and from a designated body within each Member State. In addition, the Commission will make available an electronic version of the guide, accessible on the Internet.

For each make on sale, the dealer must display on posters or in any other form (including electronic displays) a list of the fuel consumption data of all the models. These data should be broken down by type of fuel and ranked in order of fuel efficiency as indicated by CO2 emission levels.

The Directive also provides that promotional material (advertisements in newspapers, posters, brochures) used in marketing new cars must contain fuel consumption and CO2 emissions data.

The Directive requires the prohibition of any marking relating to fuel consumption which does not comply with the above provisions and which might cause confusion.

Member States must notify the Commission of the competent body or bodies responsible for the implementation and functioning of the consumer information scheme.

The Commission is assisted by the committee set up under the Directive on the indication of the energy consumption of household appliances.


Consumer information, achieved by means of labels showing a vehicle's CO2 emissions, is one of the three pillars of the strategy the EU adopted in 1995 to reduce CO2 emissions. The other two pillars are a voluntary commitment by automobile manufacturers to reduce CO2 emissions and the promotion of fuel-efficient cars via fiscal measures.



Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Directive 1999/94/EC



OJ L 12, 18.1.2000

Amending acts

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Directive 2003/73/EC



OJ L 186, 25.7.2003

Regulation (EC) No 1882/2003



OJ L 284, 31.10.2003

Regulation (EC) No 1137/2008



OJ L 311, 21.11.2008

Successive amendments and corrections to Directive 1999/94/CE been incorporated in the basic text. This consolidated version is for reference purpose only.


Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 7 February 2007 - Results of the review of the Community Strategy to reduce CO2 emissions from passenger cars and light commercial vehicles [COM(2007) 19 final - Not published in the Official Journal].

The Commission finds that, despite the progress made on achieving the voluntary target of 140 g of CO2/km by 2008-09, the target of 120 g/CO2 that the EU has set itself will not be achieved by 2012 without additional measures. In order to achieve this target, the Commission proposes mandatory reductions of CO2 emissions to 130 g of CO2/km by means of better engine technologies (to be achieved by the automobile manufacturers) and a further reduction of 10 g of CO2/km through other technological improvements (tyre pressure monitoring systems, more effective air-conditioning systems) and an increased use of biofuels. Furthermore, the Commission intends to promote the purchase of fuel-efficient vehicles, particularly by improving vehicle labelling and by introducing legislation that would enable car tax systems in the Member States to take account of CO2 emissions.

Commission Recommendation 2003/217/EC of 26 March 2003 on the application to other media of the provisions of Directive 1999/94/EC concerning promotional literature [Official Journal L 82, 29.3.2003]. The purpose of this Recommendation is to extend the consumer information measures provided for in Directive 1999/94/EC to all promotional material used in marketing, advertising and promoting vehicles as covered by that Directive, whether the media be magnetic, optical or electronic, including Internet sites.

Commission Decision 2001/677/EC of 10 August 2001 on a reporting format for completion by Member States in accordance with Directive 1999/94/EC [Official Journal L 237, 6.9.2001].

Last updated: 14.09.2010