Questions and answers on the new ADRs for Light Vehicle Noxious Emissions

What are the new ADRs for light vehicle noxious emissions?

The Australian Government has announced it will implement more stringent (Euro 6d equivalent) noxious emissions standards for light vehicles (passenger and commercial vehicles with gross vehicle mass up to 3.5 tonnes).

These standards set stricter limits on the levels of noxious emissions (such as carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, oxides of nitrogen and particulates) produced by new road vehicles supplied to Australia.

These standards do not set limits for greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2). A separate process is currently underway to design an Australian fuel efficiency standard (FES), which will regulate the average tailpipe CO2 levels of new light vehicles supplied to the Australian market.

To enable the supply of cleaner vehicles meeting the Euro 6d standards, improvements to fuel quality standards to reduce aromatics in 'premium unleaded' (95 RON) petrol will also be implemented by the Department of Climate Change, Energy, Environment and Water from December 2025.

The new noxious emissions standards for light vehicles will be based on international vehicle standards adopted by the United Nations, as new Australian Design Rules (ADRs) made under the Road Vehicle Standards Act 2018. The new ADRs are:

  • ADR 79/05 (Emission Control for Light Vehicles), based on UN Regulation 83/08.
  • ADR 111/00 (Advanced Emissions Control for Light Vehicles), based on the improved laboratory tests for tailpipe emissions, evaporative emissions and durability adopted in UN Regulation 154.
  • ADR 112/00 (Control of Real Driving Emissions for Light Vehicles), based on the on-road emissions testing requirements adopted in UN Regulation 168.

What are the health benefits of the new ADRs?

Noxious emissions from road vehicles (such as oxides of nitrogen and particulates) affect the quality of the air we breathe. Prolonged exposure to these air pollutants can increase the risk of heart and lung disease, cancer and premature death. The economic impacts of these emissions are borne by the community through the public health system.

The new ADRs for light vehicle noxious emissions are expected to reduce the burden of disease attributable to noxious emissions from cars, sport utility vehicles and light commercial vehicles (vans and utes) by $6.1 billion over the period to 2040. These benefits will increase over time as older vehicles are replaced with newer, cleaner vehicles.

When will the new ADRs become mandatory?

The new ADRs will apply to all new light passenger (MA, MB, MC, MD category) and light commercial (NA category) vehicles with a gross vehicle mass up to 3.5 tonnes.

New Models

Light vehicle models approved and supplied to Australia for the first time on or after 1 December 2025 will need to comply with the new ADRs.

Existing models

Light vehicle models approved and supplied to Australia before 1 December 2025 will need to comply by 1 July 2028, if the manufacturer wishes to continue supplying this vehicle model to Australia after that date.

Currently registered vehicles will not be affected by the new ADRs and will not need to be retrofitted to remain on the road.

What are the key differences between the new ADRs and the current ADR requirements?

The new ADRs will deliver the following benefits relative to current (Euro 5 equivalent) ADR for light vehicle emissions:

  • a 55 per cent reduction in the emissions limits for oxides of nitrogen (NOx) for diesel vehicles;
  • the introduction of a limit on the number of particles to control fine particle emissions from petrol vehicles with direct injection fuelling systems;
  • more stringent requirements for on-board diagnostic systems that monitor the emissions control systems; and
  • improved emissions tests (laboratory and on-road) to ensure reductions in emissions are also realised during normal operation on the road.

Table 1 outlines the key changes to emissions limits for passenger cars and SUVs:

Table 1—Euro 5 and Euro 6 light passenger vehicle emissions limits

Pollutant Euro 5 (ADR 79/04) Euro 6d
(ADRs 79/05, 111/00 and 112/00)
Petrol/LPG Diesel Petrol/LPG Diesel
Oxides of nitrogen 60 mg/km 180 mg/km 60 mg/km 80 mg/km
Particulate matter 4.5 mg/km 4.5 mg/km 4.5 mg/km 4.5 mg/km
Particle number limit No limit 6x1011/km 6x1011/km 6x1011/km

Particulate and particle number limits for petrol vehicles only apply to vehicles with a direct injection fuelling system

Table 2 outlines the key changes to emissions limits for most light commercial vehicles:

Table 2—Euro 5 and Euro 6 light commercial vehicle emissions limits

Pollutant Euro 5 (ADR 79/04) Euro 6d
(ADRs 79/05, 111/00 and 112/00)
Petrol/LPG Diesel Petrol/LPG Diesel
Oxides of nitrogen 82 mg/km 280 mg/km 82 mg/km 125 mg/km
Particulate matter 4.5 mg/km 4.5 mg/km 4.5 mg/km 4.5 mg/km
Particle number limit No limit 6x1011/km 6x1011/km 6x1011/km

Particulate and particle number limits for petrol vehicles only apply to vehicles with a direct injection fuelling system

Will the new ADRs accept equivalent US or Japanese standards for light vehicle emissions?

The new ADRs will accept vehicles meeting the current US 'Tier 3' Standards for light duty vehicles. This is because US emission limits and durability requirements are compatible with those required by the Euro 6d standard.

The new ADRs will not accept the Japanese standard for light vehicle emissions as an alternative standard, as the Japanese durability requirement (80,000km) is less stringent than the 160,000km required by the Euro 5 and 6 standards. However, ADRs 111/00 and 112/00 will allow vehicles to be tested to the 3 phase WLTP (adopted in Japan), in lieu of the 4 phase WLTP (adopted in Europe).

When will the text of the ADR be available?

The department will consult with stakeholders on the text of the new ADRs through its vehicle standards forums before they are adopted by the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government to ensure they reflect the intent of the Government's decision. Once adopted the new ADRs will be available on the Federal Register of Legislation.

Will the new ADRs improve fuel efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions?

The new ADRs do not set a limit on CO2 emissions and the emission control technologies required to meet the new ADRs (such as catalysts and particle filters) will not directly improve fuel efficiency or reduce CO2 emissions. A separate process is currently underway to design an Australian fuel efficiency standard to reduce the average CO2 emissions from new light vehicles supplied to the Australian market.

However, as manufacturers are required to reduce CO2 and noxious emissions concurrently in other markets, Australia is more likely gain access to more fuel-efficient engines available in other markets.

Some noxious emissions, such as nitrous oxide, are also more potent greenhouse gases than CO2. The new ADRs will also help reduce these greenhouse gas emissions.

How will the new ADRs impact on the cost of new cars and the range of vehicles available?

The technology required to meet the new ADRs are expected to increase the cost of supplying a new car, SUV or light commercial vehicle to Australia by $450 to $1,000. While some manufacturers may pass on these fitment costs to new car buyers, fitment costs for new technologies tend to decrease as the technology becomes commonplace. Purchase prices for new car buyers are also affected by factors such as exchange rates, supply chains and other changes made as part of a model update.

Any increase in purchase cost is likely to be offset over the life of the vehicle, as the new ADRs and associated improvements to fuel quality standards will also enable manufacturers to supply more fuel-efficient engines available in other markets with equivalent standards.

The new standards are not expected to affect the range of vehicle models available in Australia, as many popular vehicle models sold in Australia are also available in countries with stricter noxious emission standards.

The changes to fuel quality standards for 'premium unleaded' (95 RON) petrol are expected to increase the cost of 95 RON petrol by 0.9 cents per litre from the end of 2025. For vehicles that require 95 RON petrol, this would represent an increase of around $8 per year in refuelling costs for an average passenger vehicle, and around $13 a year for an average light commercial vehicle.

Vehicles operating on diesel or other grades of petrol will not be affected by the changes to fuel quality standards.

What was the consultation process for this ADR?

A draft regulation impact statement Light Vehicle Emission Standards for Cleaner Air was released for public consultation from October 2020 to February 2021. Comments were sought from stakeholders representing vehicle manufacturers, motorists and the broader community.

The feedback received in response to this paper and the subsequent consultation on improved fuel quality standards by the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water in November 2022 were used to determine the final approach recommended for adoption by the Australian Government.

Are any changes planned to the fuel consumption labelling standard?

As the new ADR package will also mandate a new laboratory test for fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, further consultation is planned in 2024 to determine what fuel consumption labelling requirements should apply to vehicles that comply with the new ADRs.