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Reduction in CO2 emissions of new passenger cars

This summary has been archived and will not be updated. See 'Reduction in CO2 emissions of new passenger cars and of new light commercial vehicles' for an updated information about the subject.

Reduction in CO2 emissions of new passenger cars

In view of the fact that road transport is one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the EU, this regulation aims to reduce these emissions by setting limits for new passenger cars.


Regulation (EC) No 443/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 setting emission performance standards for new passenger cars as part of the Community’s integrated approach to reduce CO2 emissions from light-duty vehicles.



It sets standards for new passenger cars regarding their carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The current limit is set as 130 grams of CO2 emitted per kilometre. The limit will reduce to 95 grams of CO2/km by the year 2021.


  • 130g/km limit phased in between 2012 and 2015. For every year in that period, the percentage of a manufacturer’s cars that must comply with the limit increases. From 2015, 100 % of cars must comply (compared to 75 % in 2013 and 80 % in 2014).
  • If the average CO2 emission from a manufacturer’s number of cars exceeds the emission limit, then a large fine will be enforced. For each car, the manufacturer must pay €5 for the first g/km over the limit, €15 for the second, €25 for the third and €95 for every g/km after that. From 2019, every g/km over the limit will be charged at €95.
  • Small manufacturers that register fewer than 1 000 cars in the EU per year are exempted from this legislation, whilst those that register between 1 000 and 10 000 cars per year can propose their own emission reduction targets. Meanwhile, manufacturers in the 10 000-300 000 cars per year range can apply for a fixed reduction target.
  • A system of emission credits and super credits* rewards eco-friendly innovation carried out by car manufacturers.


Cars are currently responsible for about 12 % of all CO2 emissions in the EU.

The origins of this regulation lie in a strategy adopted by the EU in 1995 aimed at reducing CO2 emissions through three pillars: a voluntary commitment by car manufacturers to reduce emissions; promoting fuel-efficient cars through fiscal measures; and consumer information achieved through labels showing a car’s CO2 emissions, as detailed in Directive 1999/94/EC.


Super credits are incentives given to manufacturers to register low-emitting cars. Under this scheme, cars that produce 50 or less CO2 g/km are counted as 1.5 cars until 2016. This in turn gives manufacturers flexibility in terms of also producing less fuel-efficient cars.

For more information, see the European Commission’s webpages on reducing CO2emissions from passenger cars.



Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 443/2009



OJ L 140 of 5.6.2009, pp. 1-15

Amending act(s)

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Commission Regulation (EU) No 397/2013



OJ L 120 of 1.5.2013, pp. 4-8

Regulation (EU) No 333/2014



OJ L 103 of 5.4.2014, pp. 15-21


Commission Regulation (EU) No 1014/2010 of 10 November 2010 on monitoring and reporting of data on the registration of new passenger cars pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 443/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council (OJ L 293 of 11.11.2010, pp. 15-20).

Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 396/2013 of 30 April 2013 amending Regulation (EU) No 1014/2010 as regards certain requirements for the monitoring of CO2 emissions from new passenger cars (OJ L 120 of 1.5.2013, pp. 1-3).

last update 02.04.2015