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Car firms win CO2 rule relaxation

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Car companies have claimed victory in a "green battle" with European regulators over new emission rules, it has emerged.

Tough new carbon dioxide emission regulations proposed by the European Commission would have seen average new car CO2 emissions across Europe of between 158g and 130g per kilometre by 2012.

However, MEPs have instead agreed a deal with the Council of Ministers that waters down the rules and will see the new targets phased in over three years so that manufacturers only have to meet targets in all their vehicles by 2015. Any manufacturers that miss targets by a small margin will be penalised.

Meanwhile, a challenging EU-wide long-term target of 95g/km by 2020 will be added to the regulation.

Transport secretary Geoff Hoon commented: "This agreement represents a good deal for the environment and a good deal for UK business. It will drive fuel efficiency improvements in new cars, helping to tackle CO2 emissions and reducing running costs for drivers."

He added: "The challenging long term target for 2020 was a principle that the UK was amongst the first to call for earlier this year. This has potential to be the biggest CO2 saving measure in transport."

© Press Association 2008