Reports, Case Studies & Assessments

Soot-free road transport in South Africa: A cost-benefit analysis of Euro VI heavy-duty vehicle standards


Unlike most markets in Sub-Saharan Africa, South Africa has a strong domestic vehicle manufacturing industry, and has banned the import of used vehicles, which are common in other African nations. This simplifies the regulation of environmental performance of vehicles in South Africa. In addition, South Africa’s diesel fuel in the retail market is approaching the level of sulfur content required for Euro VI heavy-duty vehicle emission standards. The two factors combined put South Africa in a strong position to formally adopt Euro VI-equivalent and future HDV emission standards, thereby reducing air pollution and the health risks associated with it. Such leapfrogging has a precedent in India, where the government successfully jumped from Euro IV-equivalent to Euro VI-equivalent emission standards in 2020, under similar conditions of low sulfur diesel availability in the market (Shao, 2020).

This study estimates the costs and benefits of adopting Euro VI standards in diesel HDVs in South Africa under different timelines of fuel quality and emission standard advancements. Based on the results, we also make policy recommendations that would reduce HDV emissions and improve air quality and public health in South Africa.

Pollutants (SLCPs)