BRUSSELS -- Under new European Union rules to combat pollution, trucks and buses rolling off assembly lines this year will produce significantly less harmful exhaust fumes.

The European Commission said the new norms, known as Euro VI and replacing standards set in 2008, will cut nitrogen oxide emissions by 80% and particulates by 66%, while also giving a boost to the struggling auto sector.

"Today's emission reduction will help clean up the air we breathe and improve the competitiveness of Europe's automobile industry," said Industry Commissioner Antonio Tajani.

"We are creating a win-win situation: we will have cleaner trucks and buses, which will be trendsetters and exportable worldwide," he added.

Nitrogen oxide and particulates -- micro-particles found typically when diesel fuel is used -- are major components of vehicle pollution.

The new EU norms are in line with equivalent US emission limits.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2013, IW Staff