The European Commission announced plans earlier this week to introduce bloc-wide rules for cleaner vehicle fuels but the main debate over strict new laws on emission levels remained unresolved.
Under the plans put forward by the EU's executive arm, automakers from 2011 will have to reduce emission by 1% a year "from well to wheel" from 2010 levels. That means greenhouse gas emissions caused in the fuel "life-cycle" from its extraction from the ground to its use in the car must be progressively decreased.
This would cut emissions by 500 million tons of carbon dioxide by 2020, equivalent to the combined emissions of Spain and Sweden today, the Commission stated.
Diesel fuel for cars will also have to be sulphur-free throughout the EU by 2009.
Also, to enable a higher volume of biofuels to be used in petrol, a separate petrol blend would be established including up to 10% of ethanol.
The Commission delayed for another week an announcement on the hotly debated issue of laws to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from new cars to 120 grams per kilometer, a move strongly opposed by Germany.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007