European Parliament has passed the proposed car emission reduction target set for 2020, aiming to reduce the current 130g of CO2 per km limit to 95g/km.
The regulation, known to be the strictest in the world, will be binding for small vehicle manufacturers and will now have to be approved by the Council of Europe.
Although the regulation will come into effect in 2020, it will allow for a one year phase-in period, giving the car-makers time to adjust.
The regulation will also allow car-makers to gain so called ‘super credits’ for the performance of their cleanest models that could make up for the more polluting cars.
“This vote means that Europe will continue to be at the cutting edge in reducing CO2 emissions from cars, as the 95g/km target represents a saving of 15 million tonnes of CO2 emissions per year,” said German European Parliament deputy Thomas Ulmer. “However, the cost of innovation has to be socially acceptable and economically feasible, both for consumers and manufacturers.”
The proposed regulation also expects the new UN-defined standard for more realistic car emission testing, the World Light Duty Test Procedure, to be in place by 2017.
The requirement has been put in place after studies revealed that manufacturers have been exploiting weaknesses in existing test procedures claiming much lower emission figures than those achieved in real-life driving conditions.
The new regulation was opposed by Germany, on behalf of its luxury car makers such as BMW and Daimler, who were calling for more time to be given to the industry to meet the goals.
However, environmental campaigners are not perfectly happy, as they complain the phase-in will mean only 95 per cent of new cars will really meet the target in 2020, which equals to a 3 g/km weakening of the target.
"The final agreement is still a good deal for the environment, EU economy and drivers - reducing fuel use and CO2 emissions," said Greg Archer, clean vehicles manager at non-governmental organisation Transport & Environment.