European Council members met yesterday at a meeting in Luxembourg and have voted unanimously in favor of cutting fleet average carbon-dioxide emission levels for cars sold in Europe to 120g/km by 2012.

"This sends a clear message to the car industry that current efforts to reduce emissions must continue and must be intensified and accelerated." said EU environment commissioner Stavros Dimas. Under new proposals, a reduction in CO2 emissions will be brought about by technology improvements and the higher use of biofuels.

A major problem that has arisen, however, is the fact that the rulings are unfair to most of Germany’s carmakers, which build larger and more powerful vehicles as opposed to the carmakers from France and Italy, which produce smaller and much more fuel-efficient cars.

No agreement was reached as to how to deal with this problem but the council isn't expected to finalize the new standards until the end of the year. It will also put forward it's own suggestions for dealing with this discrepancy between the manufacturers of large and small vehicles.