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What is Euro 4 and what are the implications on your car purchase?

  • Parkers explains what Euro 4 emissions standards are
  • Find out how they influence your next car purchase
  • Save money and the planet at the same time

Written by Cat Dow Published: 24 March 2022 Updated: 25 March 2022

Euro 4 is a vehicle emissions standard which was mandated in January 2005. It has since been usurped in 2015 by Euro 6. Euro 4 and Euro 6 are particular standards that have become more prolific due to the introduction of ultra-low emission zones, where drivers using older vehicles are fined. 

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has said one 1970s car had the same emissions as 50 modern cars, proving the regulations are working. Respiratory illnesses, the deaths from which, have been linked to increased levels of air pollution, explaining why governments are more dedicated to net zero emissions objectives. 

What does Euro 4 mean exactly?

The Euro 4 emission standards are as follows

  • Carbon monoxide – 1.0g/km
  • Total hydrocarbon emissions: 0.10g/km
  • Non-methane hydrocarbon emissions: 0.068g/km
  • Nitrogen oxides: 0.08g/km
  • Particulate matter: no limit

It means if you drive a petrol vehicle, which is Euro 4-compliant vehicle or younger (i.e Euro 5 or Euro 6), you don’t need to pay ULEZ charges in London or other UK cities—at least for the time being. 

Euro 4 was introduced in 2006, so that might help give you an idea if your vehicle complies. The Euro standard of a new car has been indicated on the V5c vehicle registration document since September 2018, so that will tell you too. 

Should I buy a Euro 4 compliant car?

If protecting the environment and saving money while you do it appeals to you, you’d be in a stronger position for the future going for a new Euro 6 or electrified vehicle

A petrol or diesel vehicle with a Euro 6 certificate will also be cheaper to tax, thanks to lower CO2 emissions contributing to lower VED tax bands. A newer engine is also likely to be much more efficient than an older model, meaning less depreciation too.

You can use our Car Tax Calculator to find out exactly how much road tax you will pay on your car.

However, if your budget is tight, then going for a vehicle with a Euro 4 certification will still help you avoid anti-pollution penalties.

CO2 emissions and climate change

In an effort to mitigate the effects of greenhouse gases, the Climate Change Act (2008) requires the UK to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 34% by 2020 and 80% by 2050 compared with 1990 levels. Transport emission reduction is playing a critical role in meeting these targets.

The accumulation of these gases (most importantly CO2 and methane) in the atmosphere is a key contributor to climate change.

These harmful gases in the air have steadily increased and the effect they have on climate change is beginning to become much more obvious with heatwaves, floods, droughts and storms becoming more frequent around the world. Let us also not forget the associated health risks with the rise in these harmful gases.

Petrol vs diesel – the great debate

Should you buy a petrol or a diesel car? This debate continues to rage on; find all the latest information about petrol vs diesel cars here.

Further reading: 

>> When’s the best time to buy a car?

>> The best cheap electric cars

>> The best small, economical 4x4s

>> Looking for a fast car that’s also economical?