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What should you know about the EURO 4 emission standard?

18 July 2022

There are more and more cars, and as the result, more and more emitted pollution – it’s impact on the environment could not be left unnoticed. Therefore, already during the 80s of the 20th century, the so-called R49 regulation was introduced, and since the beginning of the 90s the EURO standards have been applied in the European Union and EEA. Learn more about the Euro 4 standard.

Since when has the EURO 4 standard been functioning?

The EURO 4 standard, developed and approved in the early 2005, concerned cars produced since 2006. In other words – if the first registration of a vehicle took place after 1st January 2006, then such vehicle had to be adjusted to the the EURO 4 standard.

The fourth version of the regulations concerning the limitation of the emission, as well as the standards of the particulate matter emission was de facto valid for five years. Although already in September 2009 the new standards were approved – referred to later as Euro 5a – they took effect since January 2011. Until then, the newly registered cars had to work in accordance with the EURO 4 standard.

  • EURO 3 – 01.2001–12.2005
  • EURO 4 – 01.2006–12.2010
  • EURO 5 – 01.2011–08.2015

If you’d like to learn more about the emission standards for passenger cars, trucks, buses, or motorcycles, as well as about the chronology of the particular regulations, take a look at our article devoted to existing EURO standards.

 

What is the maximum emission value for this standard?

The limits of the emission, in accordance to the EURO standard, is regulated by the 98/69/WE and 2002/80/WE directive for all the passenger cars, whereas motorcycles and other two-wheel vehicles (e.g. motorbikes) and three-wheel ones are regulated by the 168/2013 regulation.

Notice that during the period of time when EURO 4 was effective for the passenger cars, the two- and three-wheel vehicles were regulated by the Euro III emission standard. In the case of these vehicles, the EURO IV regulations were introduced in 2017, and the usage of the Arabic and the Roman numerals allows better differentiation.

 

Allowed emission standards for cars with gasoline engines

  • CO: 1 g/km
  • HC: 0.1 g/km
  • NOx: 0.08 g/km

The introduction of the EURO 4 standard resulted in substantial changes for manufacturers, who were forced to limit the emission by half in all of the measured ranges. The emissions of carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides were substantially reduced.

What’s important, in the case of the vehicles with gasoline engines the particulate matter emission was not regulated yet at that moment. These were researched since the EURO 5 standard, which was still limited to the gasoline direct injection engines 9e.g. GDI, FSI and TFSI, JTS).

 

Values for vehicles with diesel engines allowed by the EURO standard

  • CO: 0.5 g/km
  • NOx: 0.25 g/km
  • HC+NOx: 0.3 g/km
  • PM: 0.025 g/km

The EURO standard for cars with the diesel engine introduced slight limitations of the carbo monoxide emission (from 0.64 to 0.50 g/km), whereas more significant limitations were introduced for nitrogen oxides and particulate matter. In the case of these two, their emission was reduced by half.

It is that last change that caused a particulate matter filter (so-called DPF or FAP) being installed in the diesel engines. Without it, vehicles usually did not meet the criteria which already seemed high. The introduction of EURO 4 was one the factors due to which the engines with the Common Rail system gained advantage over the ones with the unit pump injector. Considering the last ones, the new emission regulations were deemed extremely difficult to meet.

 

The EURO IV standard for the two- and three-wheel vehicles

  • CO: 1.14 g/km
  • HC: 0.17 g/km
  • NOx: 0.09 g/km

Motorcycles – and any other two- or three-wheel vehicle – must meet the EURO IV standard since 2017. Compared to the previously working regulations, the allowed limits for carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, as well as hydrocarbons were reduced.

 

The EURO 4 standard and the clean transport zone

The ecological transport zone (SCT – pl. strefa czystego transportu) along with the environmental badges is a view which we should be getting more and more used to. Creating the “green zones” in the city centres has become a necessity due to the worsening air quality. Eliminating the heavily “environment polluting” vehicle from the traffic is of the elements which are to lead to the improvement of what we breathe in.

That means certain difficulties for owners of older vehicles. If a car does not meet standards applied for a particular place and time, it won’t be allowed to enter a SCT zone. In the case of cars meeting the EURO4 emission standards, they can enter the clean transport zones until 2025.

 

Higher fees for cars not meeting the standards

Traffic limitation is one of the ways in the quest to improve the air quality. Another actions should be more rigid technical condition inspections – i.a. verifying whether the particulate mater filter or the exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) valve have not been removed. A solution which would allow definitely ending the procedure of removing the catalyst should be found – whether due to the owner’s order or a robbery.

One more way should be mentioned here – differentiating the fees for using roads. It has been already applied that the users of more polluting trucks or coaches pay higher fees for using roads.

An ideal solution would cause all the drivers change their cars to the ones with electric engines – on condition that the energy transition be done. It would be best if the electricity required to charge the electric or hybrid cars or would come from renewable energy sources. And not as it is the case now that most of it comes from fossil fuel combustion.

 

Which cars does the EURO 4 standard concern?

The emission standards applied in the European Union and the European Economic Area concerns most of the vehicles. A few examples of such vehicles:

  • passenger cars with gasoline engines
  • passenger cars with diesel engines
  • motorcycles (two-wheel vehicles) equipped with gasoline engines with the capacity of at least 150 cm3
  • buses
  • trucks
  • tractors and agricultural machinery

The EURO 4 standard has to be met by all the cars registered for the first time since 1 January 2006 (and motorcycles registered since 2017). All the vehicles manufactured after this date had to undergo certain tests and prove to work in accordance with the EURO standard – otherwise they would not be allowed for sale.

 

Older cars meeting the EURO4 standard

However, if a car was produced before 2006, it does not automatically mean that it did not meet the EURO 4 standards. An example of this is Mitsubishi Carisma with a GDI engine, a “precursor” of the modern ones by the way, mass-produced engines with direct injection.

In 2000, the GDI items were modernised so that they would meet the EURO4 criteria, although the model itself ceased to be produced in 2004, two years before the new emission standard was introduced. The more ecological GDIs can be recognised by their slightly reduced power (122 instead of 125 HP).

 

The future of the EURO 4 standard

Finding a convenient compromise between the limitation of the environment pollution by cars with the gasoline engine and the diesel engine, and the convenience of the users is not an easy task. Although since quite some time already the newly manufactured cars must meet the most rigorous emission standards, it still cannot be achieved – just like that – that only the newest and ecological cars remain on the roads. It’s a process – and processes tent to take time.

Therefore, even in the so-called clean transport zones, cars meeting the EURO4 emission standard still will be able to be driven on the roads – up to until 2025. After that, drivers will have to face the fact that the time of these cars in the city centres will have passed. Then, they will have to either give up on using the zones in which the limits are applied, or get a newer car – the best would be a hybrid or an electric one.

Summary
What should you know about the EURO 4 emission standard?
Article Name
What should you know about the EURO 4 emission standard?
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There are more and more cars, and as the result, more and more emitted pollution. Learn more about the Euro 4 standard.
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autoDNA
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