Euro 6: Which cars have the lowest emissions?

Written by Hejab Azam

1 July, 2019

Reducing vehicle emissions has become a central focus over the last year, with the government looking to ban the sale of new diesel and petrol cars by 2040 as outlined in the UK Air Quality plan. The European Union’s emissions standards have played a major role in encouraging manufacturers to offer cleaner cars to reduce pollution, with the latest guidelines placing more emphasis on reducing diesel car emissions.

Whether you’re looking to lease a new car or you already own a vehicle registered after September 2015, it’s important to know how the Euro 6 emissions regulations will impact you. Read this handy guide to find out whether your car is Euro 6 compliant and what cars have the lowest emissions. 

What is Euro 6?

The European emissions standards first came into force in 1993 and establish the acceptable limits for exhaust emissions of new vehicles sold in the EU and EEA. This means that if manufacturers want to sell a car in Europe today, it has to meet the Euro 6 emission standards as determined by stringent tests. The real-world driving emissions assessment measures the pollutants that a car produces while being driven on the road to provide a realistic result of emissions, rather than taking those a car produces when tested in a lab.

Euro 6 is the sixth iteration of the EU directive to reduce pollution and came into force in September 2015, setting separate regulations for petrol and diesel cars to reflect the different pollutants both fuels produce. While Euro 1 ensured that diesel cars emitted no more than 780mg/km of nitrous oxide and petrol no more than 490mg/km, the permitted levels for diesels dropped to a maximum of 80mg/km with Euro 6 and 60mg/km for petrols.

The Euro 6 standard has gained importance over the last year as it affects whether a driver will be charged to enter emission zones, as well as the amount of road tax they’ll have to pay. Following the implementation of London’s ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ) and Birmingham’s clean air zone (CAZ), any diesel vehicle that doesn’t meet the Euro 6 requirements will be subject to a daily charge of up to £12.50 when driving in city centres.

How do I know if my car is Euro 6 compliant?

Knowing your car’s Euro rating is more important than ever given the increasing penalties being introduced for older or polluting cars. Your car’s Euro rating should be displayed on your V5C registration certificate or in the vehicle logbook, and it can also be found printed on the car door frame on most models. The table below shows the different Euro categories that apply to new vehicle models approved after a certain date, but you should check with your manufacturer if you’re not sure whether your car conforms to appropriate standards.

Emissions StandardYear applied to cars fromYear applied to most new regs from
Euro 11 July 199231 December 1992
Euro 21 January 19961 January 1997
Euro 31 January 20001 January 2001
Euro 41 January 20051 January 2006
Euro 51 September 20091 January 2011
Euro 61 September 20141 September 2015

If your vehicle is older than the year outlined by Euro 1, you may be charged or banned from driving in certain cities across Europe. If your diesel car doesn’t currently meet the EU standards, you may be able to fit it with a diesel particulate filter (DPF) to reduce emissions. These were made mandatory following Euro 5 legislation introduced in 2009 and work to trap the soot produced by car exhausts. However, they can cost up to £3,500 to buy from a car manufacturer, making the cost of a DPF often more than the value of an older car.

What are the benefits of buying a Euro 6 car?

As Euro emissions standards become more stringent, more and more manufacturers are investing in technology to clean up their vehicles’ exhaust fumes. As well as reducing air pollution, some of the other benefits of purchasing a Euro 6 car are:

●     Increased efficiency. As manufacturers have to make sure that engines are as efficient as possible to meet EU standards, new cars provide the added bonus of being increasingly cost effective. On average, diesel cars offer up to 30% better fuel economy when compared to their petrol counterparts.

●     Car tax. Car tax is calculated based on fuel efficiency, so the better sub-category of Euro 6 a car meets, the more likely it is to have fewer emissions and cost less each year in tax.

●     Emission-related charges. Motorists now have to pay to drive in low emission zones if they drive a car that’s deemed too polluting, but those that meet Euro 6 standards will avoid these additional charges.

If your car was registered on or after 1st September 2015 or it was approved on or after 1st September 2014, it should meet the Euro 6 standard. If not, you may want to consider buying or leasing a new car.

Which cars have the lowest emissions?

Cars with low emissions are not only good for the environment, but they’re often kinder on wallets. Whether due to longer gearing, enhanced aerodynamics or a detuned engine, green cars are becoming increasingly popular due to their low taxes, innovative technology and fuel efficiency. If you’re looking to reduce emissions, you may want to consider purchasing a hybrid or full electric car. Hybrid cars utilise a combustion engine in conjunction with an electric motor and battery pack, with most relying on the engine to be the main power source. Full electric cars (EVs) need to be charged regularly and are therefore better suited to drivers covering a short commute.

What car is best for you depends on a number of factors, but here are four of the most efficient vehicles available on the market right now to help you make an informed decision.

BMW i3

The BMW i3 is an electric car that has been specially designed to prioritise economy and efficiency. The 33kWh battery places the car’s range at 190 miles, meaning it will cover most journeys you’re likely to take. BMW offers its own charging unit and has the ability to fast charge using a CCS connector, giving 80% battery power in about 42 minutes.

Tesla Model S

The Tesla Model S is the ideal electric car for those looking for luxurious executive travel packed into an innovative design. All models offer a potential range of around 300 miles, while Tesla’s Supercharger network allows free and fast charging. The fastest P100D Ludicrous model has a claimed 0-62mph time of 2.5 seconds thanks to the effective power delivery of its two-motor setup.

Jaguar I-Pace

As Jaguar’s first all-electric car, the I-Pace features two electric motors and a low-slung battery pack to set new standards for EVs in terms of performance, power and class. Charging times can be as short as 40 minutes from specialist chargers, while the full flat battery takes 12 hours to reach full power on a standard plug.

BMW 3 Series 330e

The BMW 3 Series is a plug-in hybrid that utilises tech from the i8 to reduce CO2 emissions to 44g/km. There are three driving modes via the eDrive button, with Battery Save working to retain electricity for low-speed city driving or low emission zones. The fast-charge system boosts the battery in a couple of hours, allowing the 3 Series to remain on electric power for up to 25 miles.

At the end of the day, which car you choose is down to your driving style, motoring needs and personal preference. However, opting for a low emission car arguably offers more of a long-term investment due to the uncertain future of diesel cars.

At AMT Leasing, we’re committed to providing a quality service that’s tailored to you. If you’re looking for a new lease vehicle or want to know more about low emission cars, contact our dedicated team today to discuss your requirements on 0113 417 0155.

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