Brussels - CO2 emissions from new cars in the European Union should fall by 37.5 per cent by 2030, EU negotiators have agreed, following tense negotiations between the European Parliament and member states.
The limit, which will be based on 2021 levels, is a compromise between the 35-per-cent goal proposed by EU governments and a more ambitious target of 40 per cent sought by lawmakers.
Austria, which currently holds the rotating EU Council presidency, announced the move.
The 2030 target will apply to car manufacturers' fleets as a whole, meaning that high-emission models would have to be offset with sales of low-emission or zero-emission vehicles, such as battery-run cars.
To achieve the new targets, the onus is thus on car manufacturers to sell an ever greater proportion of clean vehicles as compared to diesel- and petrol-powered cars.
The EU's car emissions targets are part of efforts to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and limit global warming.
Vehicle exhaust fumes make up a large share of the emissions linked to climate change
More stringent targets
The targets are much more stringent than the car industry and some governments - including that of Germany - wanted to see.
German carmakers have reacted angrily, calling the 2030 target restrictive and unrealistic.
"The regulation demands too much while promoting too little," the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) said.
"Nobody knows today how the agreed limits can be achieved in the time given," it added in a statement, arguing that nowhere else in the world had such strict regulations.
The association said the move would damage Europe's standing in the international car market and endanger jobs.
A new target is also envisaged for light vans: a CO2 emissions reduction of 31 per cent.
For both new cars and vans, a reduction of 15 per cent should be achieved by 2025 as an interim goal.
Under existing EU rules, by 2021, new cars may not emit more than an average of 95 grams of CO2 per kilometre.