EU governments have delayed for a third time a target to cut average CO2 emissions from Europe's new-car fleet to 95 grams per kilometer after lobbying from Germany on behalf of its automakers.
At a meeting of EU member states on Friday, Germany's call to delay a vote on the limit was backed by Britain, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, EU sources said on condition of anonymity.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel's government aims to water down a deal agreed on in June to cut average emissions of new cars sold in the EU to 95g/km by 2020 from about 130/g/km now. The 95g/km target is equivalent to fuel use of 4 liters per 100km (59 U.S. mpg/71 UK mpg).
An EU source said governments want more time to consider a German plan for a phase-in period. Under the German proposal the 95g/km limit would apply to 80 percent of cars produced in 2020, rising by 5 percentage points each year to reach full implementation only in 2024.
Greg Archer, clean vehicles manager of Transport & Environment, said in a statement that Germany's attempts to change the 95g/km target was intended "to give a competitive advantage to BMW and Daimler, who already receive much higher targets than mainstream carmakers."
Lithuania, holder of the EU presidency, said on Friday that the issue had been deferred for a debate and possible vote at a council of environment ministers in Luxembourg on Oct. 14.
Van limit agreed
A target to reduce average CO2 emissions from commercial vans to 147g/km by 2020 was endorsed on Friday, meaning the proposal is ready to be rubber-stamped by EU ministers before becoming law.