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Scope of application for cars

In accordance with the Federal CO2 Act, the CO2 emission regulations for cars apply to all cars that are registered in Switzerland for the first time. Cars that were previously registered in Switzerland are not subject to these regulations. The regulations also do not apply to cars that have been registered abroad more than six months prior to their customs declaration in Switzerland. Other exemption rules for cars are explained in the FAQs.


Importers are obliged to comply with a specific CO2 target for their new vehicle fleet (for small and individual importers, this applies to the vehicle-specific target). As a rule, the target level is calculated on the basis of the average target, taking account of the unladen weight of the vehicle (cf. FAQs). If the level of CO2 emissions per kilometre exceeds the specified target, a penalty per excess gram and vehicle has to be paid.

Small and niche car manufacturers may apply for a special target in the EU. A special target is an individual brand-specific CO2 target that applies instead of the standard target based on unladen weight. The Swiss regulations stipulate that the targets for small and niche manufacturers have to be taken into account for large-scale and small importers. The list of brands concerned may be viewed under “Forms and fact sheets”. Special targets are automatically taken into account when penalties are to be collected from small importers. Large-scale importers who also import brands from small and niche manufacturers and want to apply for special targets must notify the SFOE of this intention using the corresponding application form (cf. “Forms and fact sheets”) prior to the initial registration of the vehicle in that year.

Procedure for small importers

Small importers are required to pay any applicable penalties prior to the initial registration of the vehicle(s) in Switzerland. For this purpose, the “Application for certification” form must be submitted to FEDRO, together with 13.20 and the original Certificate of Conformity, regardless whether a penalty is applicable. The address for submitting the required documentation is indicated at the bottom of the “Application for certification” form.


Enforcement results

In 2017 the Federal Administrative Court decided that the public interest in results regarding the enforcement of regulations on CO2 emissions for vehicles outweighed data protection considerations (Decision A-6755/2016 of 23 October 2017). Based on this decision the Federal Office of Energy publishes an annual overview of enforcement results.

Calculation of penalties

Industry information

Brochures and reports

Forms and fact sheets

Specialist staff
Last modification 03.01.2022

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