Heavy metals constitute an important group of persistent toxic pollutants occurring in ambient air and other media. One of the suspected sources of these metals in the atmosphere is combustion of transport fuels in road vehicles. However, estimates of the emissions of these metals from road vehicles as reported in national emission inventories show a very high variability in emission factors used. This paper provides high quality data on concentrations of heavy metals in fuels and derives default emission factors from these. The paper discusses these values against the emission estimates presently reported by the Parties to the LRTAP Convention.The measured concentrations of heavy metals in petrol and diesel fuel show a high variability between different samples taken at gas stations throughout Europe. Metal concentrations in road transport fuels vary over two orders of magnitude, but all remain in the ppb region (a few tenths of a ppb to a few hundred ppb for all metals). The frequency distributions of the measurements could be approximated by lognormal distributions. The emission factors, including 95 percent confidence intervals were derived from a statistical analysis of the survey data. We could not detect a significant difference between samples from different countries. The fuel based emission factors as derived in this study are complemented with those related to unintentional lubricant oil combustion. This allowed an estimation of total exhaust heavy metal emissions for UNECE Europe, indicating that As, Hg and Se exhaust emissions were dominated by fuel combustion while Cd, Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb, and Zn exhaust emissions were dominated by lubricant oil combustion. The proposed emission factors were generally lower than previously published emission factors. National emissions of heavy metals from vehicle exhaust, estimated in this study are in many cases considerably lower than those reported by the countries for this source.