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Emission Standards

Australia: Light-Duty Vehicles


Emission standards for petrol engined light vehicles commenced in 1972, with the adoption of a 4.5% CO concentration limit measured at idle (ADR26). A number of regulations adopted in the 1970s (ADR27), 1980s (ADR37), and 1990s introduced increasingly more stringent emission limits based on US emission standards and testing methods.

The above ADRs have been replaced by ADR79, which introduced European emission standards for both petrol and diesel light-duty vehicles. Since its introduction in 1999, ADR79 was tightened on several occasions. The important regulatory steps include:

  • ADR79/00—A major round of more stringent emission standards introduced Euro 2 standards for both diesel and petrol vehicles that were phased-in over 2002-2004.
  • ADR79/01—Euro 3 emission standards, effective from 2005/2006 (new/all models) for petrol vehicles only.
  • ADR79/02—Euro 4 emission standards for petrol, diesel, and alternative fueled vehicles (NG, LPG), phased-in over 2006-2010.
  • ADR79/03-04—Euro 5 emission standards for all types of vehicles, effective from 2013.11/2016.11 (new/all models). Euro 6 standards (ADR79/05), originally scheduled for 2017.07/2018.07, have been delayed pending a reduction of sulfur content in petrol fuels.

Applicability. The emission standards are applicable to vehicles with a gross vehicle mass (GVM) equal to and below 3.5 tonnes, including passenger vehicles (category MA, MB, MC), light buses (MD), and light goods vehicles (NA).

Emission Standards (2002/03 and Later)

Since 2002/2003, Australian light-duty emission regulations are based on EU standards for category M1 and N1 vehicles. The ADRs apply to new vehicles fueled with petrol, diesel, as well as with natural gas or LPG. The requirements and the implementation schedules are summarized in Table 1.

Table 1
Emission standards for light-duty vehicles (2002/03 and later)
ADR StandardSource StandardDate
Vehicle TypeNew ModelsAll Models
ADR79/00Euro 2
UN ECE 83/04
ADR79/01Euro 3
UN ECE 83/05
ADR79/02Euro 4
UN ECE 83/05
ADR79/03 [5936]‘Core’ Euro 5b
UN ECE 83/06
ADR79/04 [5935]Euro 5
UN ECE 83/06
a ADR79/01 mandated Euro 4 standards for diesel, but was effectively replaced by ADR79/02
b The ‘core’ Euro 5 (ADR79/03) adopts the requirements of UN ECE R83/06, except that it does not require the PMP-based test methods for PM (allowing the old method with the 0.005 g/km PM limit as an alternative), has no PN limit, and has a relaxed OBD threshold for PM. ADR79/04 applies the full requirements of UN ECE R83/06.

Other Provisions

OBD. ADR79/03-04 introduce European OBD requirements for light-duty vehicles. At the ‘core’ Euro 5 stage (ADR79/03) a relaxed OBD threshold limit for PM mass of 80 mg/km is accepted for M and N category vehicles of reference mass above 1760 kg.

Smoke Limits. A smoke emissions ADR30/01 applies to all categories of diesel vehicles. The smoke standard, which applies from 2002/3, adopts UN ECE R24/03 and allows the US EPA 98 smoke standards as an alternative [5942].

Fuel Quality. The emission regulations were accompanied by diesel fuel quality specifications of reduced sulfur content, including 500 ppm sulfur from 31 December 2002; 50 ppm from 1 January 2006; and 10 ppm from 1 January 2009. Sulfur content has also been reduced in petrol fuels.