The European Commission presents proposals to limit automobile carbon emissions Wednesday that environmentalists complain will offer favoured treatment to manufacturers of big German cars.
In a draft of the proposals obtained by AFP, the European Union executive calls for a cap on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 2020 of an average 95 grammes per kilometre per new passenger vehicle, against 130 grammes today.
But under present regulations, manufacturers of power cars such as Germany's Daimler or BMW, have been offered a higher limit than average, meaning makers of smaller lighter cars must contribute more to the overall goal.
And environmentalists say the new proposals offer big cars even more leeway to pollute than under existing rules.
"The new proposition moves even closer to German manufacturers," Franziska Achterberg, a traffic expert with Greenpeace in Brussels, told AFP, though it remains short of the wishes of the German car lobby.
Greenpeace also fears a suggestion still under discussion could further weaken the targets as it gives a manufacturer to win credits for electro-cars that emit zero CO2, even if they are not effectively sold to customers.
German conservative MEP Karl-Heinz Florenz also criticized the move to grant higher caps to manufacturers of heavier cars, saying "there are not enough incentives to build lighter cars."
Explore further: BMW, Mazda lead the way as auto emissions fall: survey