Euro 6 van emissions standards: 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

Simon Ostler
May 20, 2021

If you're a van driver and you're often required to travel into central London, you'll be well aware of the ultra low emission zone (ULEZ) designed to deter the use of high-emission vehicles, and you may be wondering what you can do to comply with the restrictions that have been put in place.

The ULEZ covers a growing area of London city centre, and anyone who drives within that zone in a vehicle deemed to be producing a high level of emissions is obliged to pay a daily charge of £12.50.

This can very quickly add up, so you might want to consider the option of purchasing a ULEZ-compliant van. The best way to know whether a van will meet the restrictions is to take a look at its emissions rating. Currently, all vehicles that meet the Euro 6 emission standard are allowed to drive with the zone, with some exceptions for petrol models.

While the London ULEZ is the first of its type in the UK, there are plans for similar zones to be introduced in several other big cities including Birmingham, Bath and Leeds. So if you'd rather get ahead of the game and ensure your business is free to travel unrestricted, you'll want to know a little more about Euro 6 and what it means for your van.

The good news is, there are plenty of great vans available now that meet the Euro 6 standard, but you don't need to buy a brand new one. A used Euro 6 van will save you even more money on purchase costs and still ensure you comply with low emission zone rules. Read on for more details on Euro 6 vans, or head over to our BuyaCar search page to get started on your used van journey.

Euro 6 for vans

Euro 6 is the latest and toughest emission standard, and the one that all diesel vans must meet in order to be elligible to travel unrestricted in city centres enforcing ULEZ or similar clean air zones (CAZ).

The reason diesel vans are required to meet this latest and most stringent test, while most petrol vans only need to meet the earlier Euro 4 standard, is because diesel engines have been much maligned for their greater toxicity and harmful nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions.

Every new van sold since September 2016 has had to meet the Euro 6 standard, so you shouldn't need to worry about ULEZ or CAZ charges if you have a model that was built since then. If you're looking to purchase a petrol van, then you may even be able to look further back if you're looking for the cheapest way to comply.

Euro 6 diesel van deals
Ford Transit Custom

Ford Transit CustomBuyaCar prices from £13,532
Monthly finance from £295*

Citroen Berlingo

Citroen BerlingoBuyaCar prices from £8,495
Monthly finance from £206*

Mercedes Sprinter

Mercedes SprinterBuyaCar prices from £22,995
Monthly finance from £540*

Euro 6 for petrol and electric vans

Diesel engines produce much higher levels of harmful pollutants than their petrol counterparts, which is why it is diesel models in particular that have been targetted by these ULEZ and CAZ restrictions. 

While diesel vehicles are required to meet the latest Euro 6 emission standard introduced in September 2016, petrol variants only need to meet the much earlier Euro 4 standard that was introduced in January 2006.

While petrol vans are nowhere near as popular as diesels, largely thanks to the fact the a diesel engine is much more effective when it comes to shifting a heavy vehicle, this may be a clincher for van drivers looking for a cheaper way to comply with the restrictions.

You can, of course, skip all of this conversation entirely and purchase yourself an electric van. All zero-emission cars are ULEZ and CAZ compliant, so if you can afford the upfront cost, and you can adjust your workstyle to suit the current limitations of battery power, then an electric van might well be the best long term solution.

What makes Euro 6 diesel vans much cleaner?

The emissions limits imposed by Euro 6 regulations normally require gases from the engine to be treated before being released from the exhaust. The cost of cleaner air is that vans may be more expensive, have poorer fuel economy or require top-ups of additives, which is why the regulations were needed to force manufacturers to incorporate them into their vehicles.

There are three main types of exhaust treatment that are used to cut down on exhaust pollutants:

  • AdBlue is an additive that's mixed with exhaust gases and reacts with the toxic emissions, turning them into harmless water and nitrogen;
  • Exhaust gas recirculation that involves re-burning exhaust gases in the engine to eliminate more harmful compounds;
  • A diesel particulate filter that traps particulates and burns them off when the exhaust gases reach high temperatures (at motorway speeds, for example).

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

The easiest way is simply to purchase a van that was built after the Euro 6 standard was introduced for vans in September 2016. But if you want to make doubly sure the model your getting will comply, you can firstly ask the seller to confirm this for you - a vehicles emission certificate will always be shown on its logbook.

Here at BuyaCar, we also work to ensure the emissions rating of each and every car or van listed on our site will be openly available for you to check before comitting to a purchase.

You can also make use the Transport for London ULEZ vehicle checker, which is a quick and easy way to confirm a vehicle's compliance with its registration plate - as long as the plate attached to the vehicle is the one it was initially registered with.


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