Sustainability 2011/12

Climate Change and the Environment

Non-CO2 Tailpipe Emissions

Smog-forming vehicle emissions result from the incomplete combustion of fuels, impurities in fuels and the high-temperature oxidation of atmospheric nitrogen during the fuel-combustion process. Regulated smog-forming tailpipe emissions include hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide and particulate matter. These emissions are regulated in the U.S. by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Clean Air Act as well as by the California Air Resources Board (CARB).


As of 2010, all of Ford’s U.S. vehicles have been certified to the EPA’s Tier 2 regulations, a comprehensive and challenging set of vehicle emissions requirements.

The Tier 2 program began with the 2004 model year. It coordinates the introduction of cleaner fuels with more-stringent vehicle tailpipe emissions standards to achieve near-zero non-carbon dioxide (CO2) tailpipe emissions from cars and light trucks. These regulations significantly reduce targeted vehicle emissions, including nitrogen oxides and non-methane organic gases, to help reduce the formation of ozone and particulate matter. The Tier 2 regulations apply to all passenger cars, light trucks and medium-duty passenger vehicles. Ford completed implementing Tier 2 emissions requirements on all relevant vehicles in the 2009 model year.

The EPA estimates that this program has resulted in reductions in oxides of nitrogen emissions (from all relevant mobile sources) by at least 1.2 million tons as of 2010.

For the California market, Ford is required to meet the state’s stringent Low Emission Vehicle II (LEVII) emissions requirements for light-duty vehicles. Under the LEVII program, manufacturers are effectively required to produce a number of Partial Zero Emission Vehicles (PZEVs). A PZEV is a vehicle certified to near-zero emissions standards. Strictly speaking, PZEV vehicles are required to:

  • meet California’s Super Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle (SULEVII) exhaust emissions standard,
  • produce zero fuel system evaporative emissions, and
  • be emissions compliant for a full useful life of 150,000 miles.

For the 2011 model year, we offered a PZEV version of the Ford Focus. The hybrid versions of the 2011 Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ also met the PZEV requirements. For the 2012 model year, Ford is offering the Focus PZEV and hybrid PZEV versions of the Ford Fusion, Lincoln MKZ and Ford Escape.

Both the EPA and CARB are in the process of developing the next generation of emissions standards (Tier 3 and LEV III, respectively). CARB is also in the process of revising its future Zero Emission Vehicle regulations.

We are working with the agencies through their regulatory processes to help develop rules that are both effective and feasible. In setting tailpipe emission regulations, other vehicle rules – such as fuel economy/greenhouse gas standards and safety standards – must be taken into account to ensure that the total package of requirements is workable.

Ford continues to oppose technology mandates that seek to impose quotas or limits on the production or sale of vehicles with specified powertrain technologies. Regulatory efforts to dictate market outcomes, or to pick technology “winners” and “losers,” have never produced successful outcomes. Manufacturers need the flexibility to build the kinds of vehicles that the marketplace demands based on consumer preferences and other external factors. Emissions standards should be performance-based and should be designed to enable manufacturers to introduce vehicles with an array of different technologies.

Information about the emissions performance of all Ford vehicles sold in the U.S. can be found at the EPA’s Green Vehicles site.


Since 1990, we have decreased the non-CO2 tailpipe emissions from our vehicles sold in Europe by up to 90 percent through the development of a new generation of downsized, high-efficiency gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles with improved engine technologies and high-tech exhaust gas treatment devices. As part of these emissions-reduction efforts, all of our diesel engines are now fitted with a maintenance-free diesel particulate filter system that requires no additives for filter regeneration.

Further air-quality improvements have been generated as we have introduced vehicles equipped with technology to meet the more-stringent Euro 5 emissions standards. In 2010, Ford introduced the 1.6L and 2.0L GTDI Ecoboost® engines in Europe. In 2012, we expanded our EcoBoost offerings to include a new 3-cylinder 1.0L EcoBoost engine. These are among the most technologically advanced engines in production, combining high-pressure direct injection, a low-inertia turbo and twin independent variable cam timing. They join our lineup of high-efficiency common rail diesel engines all complying with Euro 5 emissions levels. In 2012 Ford also launched a new version of the 1.6L Ford Duratorq® TDCi engine, featuring the first lean NOx adsorbing technology in a Ford diesel, as well as a completely redesigned common rail injection system to deliver more precise control and increased combustion efficiency. All of our new passenger cars registered as of January 1, 2011, and all light-duty vehicles registered as of January 1, 2012, comply with the Euro 5 standard.

Euro 6 standards have been developed and will be applied beginning in September 2014. New test procedures on real-world driving are also under development by the European Commission and are intended to be finalized during 2013 for use during the implementation of the Euro 6 standard. These new emissions-testing requirements are focused primarily on delivering reduced tailpipe NOx emissions. The European Commission is also developing rules for increasing the severity of the low-temperature testing and evaporative emission requirements again. This rulemaking should be finalized during 2013. We are actively engaged with the European Commission and the European member states in developing better regulation.

Emissions Regulations in the U.S. and Europe

Grams per mile

  Nitrogen oxides Hydrocarbons Particulates
Euro 4 (Gasoline) 0.13 0.16 NA
Euro 4 (Diesel) 0.40 0.08 0.04
Euro 5 (Gasoline) 0.10 0.16 0.08
Euro 5 (Diesel) 0.30 0.08 0.08
U.S. Tier 1 0.60 0.31 NA
U.S. Tier 2 (Bin 5) 0.07 0.09 NA
California LEV II 0.07 0.09 NA
California SULEV 0.02 0.01 NA

Asia Pacific and Africa

Since 2010, our new gasoline-fueled passenger vehicles have been designed to comply with China Stage IV requirements (based on Euro 4 standards). China plans to implement the most recent European standards (Euro 5) starting in 2012 in large cities. Korea and Taiwan have adopted very stringent U.S.-based standards for gasoline vehicles and European-based standards for diesel vehicles. Japan, which has unique standards and test procedures, began implementing more-stringent standards in 2009. Ford is working to comply with all of these standards using a variety of approaches, including on-board diagnostics and after-treatment technologies.

South America

New passenger and commercial vehicles in South America must comply with varying levels of U.S.- or European-based emissions regulations. Argentina, Brazil and Chile are leading the adoption of more-stringent standards for light- and heavy-duty vehicles, being phased in between 2011 and 2015.

As a consequence, the following non-CO2 emissions-control technologies have been or will be introduced on our vehicles sold in South America: on-board diagnostic systems in Brazil and Argentina (which are being studied in Chile); particulate filter technology for some diesel products; and selective catalytic reduction systems for heavy diesels in these three countries.