Motor industry experts from EU member states gathered in Brussels have agreed that cars will undergo real driving emissions tests as well as laboratory tests from 2017.
It comes amid a diesel emissions test rigging scandal that has pushed German carmaker Volkswagen to its first quarterly loss in at least fifteen years.
Environmental group Client Earth expressed anger that cars would be allowed to emit double the current legal limit for pollution if the draft legislation was approved.
Meanwhile MEPs in Strasbourg have voted for ambitious new clean air targets.
“Europe needs to take action to clean up its air. We need to set ambitious targets on key pollutants. But they have to be deliverable,” said Julie Girling after Wednesday’s (October 28) vote.
The AFP news agency reports some 12 million workers are employed in the EU car production industry.
With diesel potentially falling out of favour, many car makers, including VW are now looking closer at long-range plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles.
Meanwhile the EU environment watchdog estimates poor air quality causes 400,000 premature deaths in Europe each year. It aims to save 40 billion euros in air pollution costs by 2030.