Euro 6 emissions standards for vans: need-to-know

Choose a van with the latest exhaust tech to beat new emissions charges: all you need to know about Euro 6 for vans

John Evans
Sep 30, 2018

With the launch of London’s Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) next April, the term Euro 6 will take on a new significance for diesel van drivers. This is because those diesel vans that don't meet this limit for exhaust emissions will have to pay a £12.50 daily charge to enter the ULEZ. From 2020, other towns and cities around the UK are set to follow suit, so it’s best you get your head around what Euro 6 is and its implications, sooner rather than later.

Euro 6 for vans

Euro 6 is the latest and toughest standard set by the EU for vehicle exhaust emissions. It was rolled out from September 2014 on cars and light vans, and became mandatory 12 months later. On larger vans it became mandatory from 1 September 2016.


Euro 6 van emission standards

It sets strict limits not only on CO2 emissions but also on emissions of nitrous oxide (NOx) and particulates, two very harmful substances found especially in diesel exhausts.


Euro 6 for petrol vans

Regardless of their engine type, all new vans are affected but diesel vans most of all since the reduction in NOx and particulate emissions from their exhausts is substantial and requires complex cleaning systems to achieve. Petrol vans are already cleaner in this respect, which is why those meeting the older Euro 4 standard (vans registered since January 2006) can enter the ULEZ, and most likely other future clean air ones, without paying the ULEZ surcharge.


What are the exhaust cleaning systems for diesel vans?

There are three types: exhaust gas recirculation which involves reburning exhaust gases in the engine, a diesel particulate filter that traps the exhaust particulates and burns them off and selective catalytic reduction. This last method is popular on larger vans and uses a solution of ammonia called AdBlue to clean the exhaust. The downside is that it requires replenishing at extra cost, takes up load space (between 10-20 litres) and reduces payload (30-80kg). On the flipside, Euro 6 diesel engines are more efficient so should cost less to run.


Can I retro-fit an exhaust cleaner to make my diesel van Euro 6 compliant?

You can but at huge cost. It would be much cheaper to buy a Euro 6 van. Transport for London will not recognize vans with retro-fit exhaust cleaning systems, only Euro 6 models, so you’d be wasting your money.


What about converting my diesel van to LPG?

It’s possible that converting your van to run on Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) will reduce your van’s emissions sufficiently to enter the ULEZ, for example, for free. A UK LPG-approved installer will be able to advise you.


How do I check if a van is Euro 6 compliant?

Like many retailers, BuyaCar publishes the Euro standard of each used car in the technical information that accompanies each listing. Be sure to check it to avoid the possibility of being hit with pollution charges in the future. If it's a key concern, you should ask for this to be double-checked.

Alternatively, use Transport for London’s ULEZ vehicle checker which will tell you whether or not the vehicle will attract the surcharge (obviously, if it does, it’s not Euro 6 compliant).


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