Last reviewed 19 November 2021

According to campaigning group Transport & Environment (T&E), on-road testing shows that even some of the newest trucks on Europe’s roads are exceeding the EU’s legal emission limits.

Highly toxic nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions are at least double the legal limits in certain urban areas, testing undertaken by the Technical University of Graz on behalf of T&E found.

“Testing of an IVECO diesel long-haul truck found serious failures to comply with the current, lax ‘Euro VI’ emissions limits,” T&E said. “In official tests, the truck exceeded the on-road NOx emission limit by 11% overall.”

Anna Krajinska, Emissions Engineer at T&E, said: “These results are a damning indictment of an emission standard that allows trucks to drive the air pollution crisis. To combat asthma, heart disease and cancer, all pollution from diesel trucks needs to be urgently reduced.”

Some 50,000 people in Europe die prematurely every year due to nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution alone – a component of NOx. Road transport remains Europe’s largest source of NOx emissions.

Heavy-duty vehicles represent just 2.4% of EU road vehicles, T&E highlights, but they can contribute up to 40% to total NOx emissions.

The European Commission is expected to publish a proposal for a new Euro VII emission standard for heavy-duty vehicles by the end of 2021.

It is currently studying recommendations from independent emissions experts, the Consortium for Ultra Low Vehicle Emissions (CLOVE), which has proposed measures based on what is technically achievable.

“A new EU emission standard is urgently needed to reduce pollution from trucks and buses,” Ms Krajinska concluded.