Environmental regulations are going to put severe demands on the oil industry for improving fuel quality. Awareness about increasing contribution of automotive vehicles to air pollution particularly in major Indian cities has led to the enforcement of more and more stringent vehicle emission regulations. Emission norms to be applicable from April 1, 2000 for gasoline and diesel vehicles call for major changes in the engine design and a substantial improvement in the present level of fuel quality. Various fuel characteristics significantly affect the vehicle emissions. Main properties of attention are content of lead, sulphur, benzene, aromatics, olefins and oxygenates, and fuel stability in case of gasoline; and cetane number, distillation range, oxidation stability, aromatics content, sulphur content and density in case of diesel fuel.This paper presents a review of the worldwide trends in fuel quality changes for meeting emission norms. Future Indian requirements and their implications are discussed. Effect of various fuel characteristics on vehicle emissions has been reviewed. An effort has been made to co-relate emission norms with fuel quality requirements in India for meeting projected emission norms up to year 2005. Indian vehicle emission norms for the year 2005 have been speculated. In India, for the year 2005, total elimination of leaded gasoline and the gasoline and diesel fuel specifications similar to proposed European fuel specifications for the year 2000 have been proposed.