BRUSSELS (Reuters) -- Four EU nations and European politicians from across the political divide called on the European Commission to publish next year a challenging 2025 emissions standard for new cars.
Limits on how much CO2 cars can emit has had a major impact on cutting fuel consumption and improving air quality in the European Union.
The latest limit of 95 grams per km by 2021 was only agreed after lengthy argument and extra concessions to satisfy Germany, home to luxury car manufacturers such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi, which mostly sell larger, more powerful cars with high emissions.
The Commission has committed itself to assessing the range of 68g/km to 78 g/km for 2025. A group of Green, center-right and liberal members of the European Parliament called on the Commission in a letter dated June 17 to confirm it would publish 2025 targets next year.
Separately, the environment or transport ministers from Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands and Sweden lent their support to publication in 2016 of "challenging new targets for 2025." They did not specify a level.
A Commission official said a review of post-2020 car and light commercial vehicle standards had already been announced for 2016-2017 and there would be extensive consultation involving all those affected.
In a speech in Brussels on Thursday, Climate and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete said road transport, responsible for roughly 20 percent of EU carbon emissions, needed to play its part in achieving an EU pledge to cut emissions by at least 40 percent by 2030.
Post-2020 standards would be "ambitious but achievable," he said.
Erik Jonnaert, secretary general of the European carmakers lobby group, ACEA, said any future targets had to take into account a global perspective "to safeguard the competitiveness of the industry." He said the industry would only be in a realistic position to make any new commitments beyond 2020 once it had assessed the uptake of technologies such as electric and hybrid cars.
CO2 emissions for new cars sold in the EU have fallen from more than 170 g/km in 2005 to less than 130 g/km in 2014.
Markus Heyn, member of the management board at Robert Bosch, which makes engines, told a Brussels conference that EU standards that led to the increase in fuel efficiency and lower emissions had helped make the European industry a world leader.