European environment ministers were due to meet today in a last minute attempt to find a common position on the Auto-Oil emission and fuel standards.
In the first phase of Auto-Oil, the oil and automotive industries worked with the European Commission to draw up emission and fuel standards for 2000. This was thrown into confusion in April when the European Parliament passed amendments which the oil industry said would increase the cost of implementation by a factor of five for very little benefit.
The commission rejected all but 20 minor amendments, but the parliament may try to introduce them again at its second reading in three months’ time.
In the interim a new row has blown up over whether to set `indicative standards’ for the next stage of legislation for 2005.
Auto-Oil II, which began in January, is reviewing air quality predictions and targets. Some member states oppose the principle of indicative standards while others want to set mandatory standards now.