EU environment ministers had reached an agreement on a limit of 152 grams per mile for the average car to take effect in 2020, but Germany, known for its high-performance cars, has persuaded the ministers to delay that until 2024, the BBC reported Tuesday.
Environmentalists said the new delay was deplorable.
"Weakening the agreed 2020 limits, which have long been known, is a shameful sop to German car manufacturers and will slow the development of new technologies to deliver more efficient and less polluting cars," Rebecca Harms of the German Green Party said after the ministers' vote to approve the revision.
German Environment Minister Peter Altmaier disagreed.
"It's not a fight over principles but how we bind the necessary clarity in climate protection with the required flexibility and competitiveness to protect the car industry in Europe," he said.
Luxury carmakers such as BMW and Mercedes reportedly lobbied hard for the delay in the emissions limits.
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