We studied the mechanism of NO reduction as well as its selectivity and reactivity in the presence of excess O2. Results show that fuel injection and/or pretreatment are important for ceria catalyst reduction and carbon deposition on the catalyst surface. Oxygen defects of reduced ceria are the key sites for the reduction of NO into N2. The deposited carbon acts as a buffer reductant, i.e., the oxidation of carbon by lattice oxygen recreates oxygen defects to extend the NO reduction time interval. A small amount of NO showed a full conversion into only N2 both on the reduced Zr-La doped ceria and reduced Pt-Zr-La doped ceria. Only when the catalyst is oxidised NO is converted into NO2.