Evolution of Emissions Legislation in Europe and Impact on Technology 890487

The problem of exhaust emissions from passenger cars was addressed for the first time in Europe in 1970.
The original Directive 70/220/EEC was successively amended several times in order to be adapted to the technical state of the art.
The last step that was defined in December 1987 will bring about a reduction in the exhaust emission levels that can be estimated in −90% for CO, −86% for HC and - 72% for NOx (with the exception of the small cars for which a futher severization of the standards is presently under discussion).
Four European Institutions work together in preparing a directive and its amendments: the Commission, the European Parliament, the Economic and Social Committee and the Council of Ministers.
In line with Art 100 and 100 A of the Treaty of Rome, the Commission proposes a directive, the E.P. and the E.S.C. deliver opinions and the Council of Ministers adopts and issues the directive.
The Council of Ministers takes his decision on a qualified majority basis.
The goal of the last amendment to Directive 70/220/EEC is to ensure that the impact of the European vehicle fleet on the environment is equivalent to the one of the US fleet taking into account the different composition of the park and the driven mileage.
In line with the above, the Commission is evaluating further evolution of the present requirements. They can be summarized as follows:
  • Step II emission standards for small cars to be implemented in 92/93;
  • new driving cycle that will be representative of urban and extra urban driving conditions;
  • durability requirements;
  • evaporative requirements;
  • further step for particulate emissions;
  • further step for the emission levels of L.D. commercial vehicles.


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