Surely you have started to see them in cars and soon you will see them on some motorcycles. DGT environmental labels identify vehicles according to their emission levels and you can find yours here. Basically the oldest and most polluting (approximate) half has no label. The other half (more modern and less polluting) does. And depending on how “clean” the vehicle is, it will have one or another label. Let's see how they are distinguished, how to order it if you don't have it and what they will be used for.
What are they for
Well they serve or will serve to be able to use and park the car, no less. Environmental awareness is being implemented in all areas, but in traffic it is very present. Several city councils face serious pollution problems: Madrid or Barcelona, but also Valencia and others. It is not only a matter of public health because if certain limits are exceeded there are millions of dollars in fines from the European Union.
There are different sources of environmental pollution but it is clear that the easiest to control or regulate is traffic . There are many heaters that burn poorly (or inefficiently) and plans to update them. Also public transport sometimes leaves something to be desired in its cleanliness, again they also have updating plans. And there is less and less heavy industry in urban areas that could be an environmental threat (in the West at least).
So when the air is dirty, the easiest thing to do is limit traffic. To do this, it seems fair to limit first the vehicles that pollute the most . And if that is not enough, then progressively leave them to those who are responsible for less emissions. That is precisely what environmental labels are for: to identify who pollutes more or less. Barcelona has already announced that it will use them for that when there are pollution warnings. Madrid will not take long to do so, and others will follow. Even to access certain parts of the center, it may be necessary to have a “clean” car (labeled).
How to order it
During 2016, the General Directorate of Traffic sent labels by mail . Most people got their car sticker, and if they didn't throw it away, they have it. If you have it, look for it and paste it, so you are already "identified". If you bought a car after that (and they didn't give it to you when you registered it), or you have lost them, you need to ask for it. Also to those who had to change the windshield glass and with it the label went away ...
On days with limited traffic, you will not be able to use the car without a tag.
How do you order? In Correos and it costs 5 euros : it is not free, it was only for those who received it in that first shipment a couple of years ago. And you will need the original vehicle registration certificate. By the way, if you go to the Post Office: if you live in Catalonia you are in luck because any office will give you the label on the spot. If not, and you do not go to the main office of the province, you will go to request it and after a few days you will be able to pick it up. That's how it was when we did it a few weeks ago. And in the office of our town, in fact, they learned to do it with our label.
How many types of tag are there?
As we have said, half of the cars and light vans in circulation (the oldest ones) do not have a label because they are more polluting. These are those with gasoline engines prior to 2000 and diesel engines prior to 2006. Those do not have a label and will one day prevent you from using them in certain conditions. From there, they are classified according to four labels based on the “cleanliness” of their emissions. The “ Zero ” label is pretty easy: for pure electrics that don't emit gases. But it is also carried by plug-in hybrid cars with more than 40 km of autonomy.
The “Eco” label is for low-polluting vehicles . It is carried by all hybrids (except those that are Zero) and those that burn gas (LPG, CNG LNG). Their emissions are cleaner and therefore they are also considered benevolent. The Zero and Eco usually have advantages, for example to access limited urban areas, or discounts when parking in street spaces with payment (between the total discount of the Zero and the 50 percent discount for the Eco).
We still have two other labels or categories, the " C " and the " B ". In that order they indicate cars less or more polluting. In other words, the "C" corresponds to cars with Euro 6 homologation (gasoline after 2006 or diesel after 2014). The "B" is for gasoline cars after 2000, or diesel after 2006 .
Motorcycles and mopeds
Recently (March 2018) the regulations on labels for motorcycles and mopeds have finally been published. As in cars, the idea has been to identify the half of the “park” (motorcycles in circulation) that pollutes the most and label the other half less polluting. This means that there is no equivalence , that is, a motorcycle "B" for example pollutes less than a car "B". In fact, motorcycles always pollute much less than cars, because they are less stuck, and even more if we measure it by occupant (most cars carry only one person).
Right now motorcycles, without distinction, have advantages in downtown traffic and in case of high pollution. But this can change (Barcelona has already announced it) with the labels, and older bikes will be limited . And there will be no shipping as with cars: you have to ask for it (and pay for it).
Motorcycles prior to 2003 will not have a label. From there, the "B" will be for those with Euro 2 homologation (2003-2006). The “C” label will be for Euro 3 and Euro 4 homologation motorcycles, that is to say more modern than 2006. And the “Zero” label will be for electric ones. In theory also for some hybrids, and for those (which do not exist) or gas (which neither) there would be the "Eco". Or for electrics with less than 40 km of declared autonomy, which do not exist either. Which shows the DGT motorcycle knowledge, by the way.