MEPs voted in favour of legislation that would lower emission allowances for vehicles.
Speaking to German newspaper Die Tageszeitung, which uncovered the error, Dieter Köhler said: “I practically do everything by myself and, as a pensioner, I don't even have a secretary anymore.”
Most of the damage costs of road-related air pollution are health costs.
The diesel tax increases, designed to encourage drivers to
switch to more environmentally-friendly cars, were approved in
Gilets jaunes (yellow vests) are continuing their protests all over France to protest the squeeze of living costs.
New figures show more than 350,000 dirty diesel cars were exported to Poland last year, mainly from Germany.
A Berlin court ruled on Tuesday that the German capital should impose driving bans on some roads for diesel cars whose emissions of nitrogen oxide exceed permitted limits.
Leaders of Germany’s coalition parties have come to an agreement to fix the country’s diesel crisis after marathon talks late into the night.
German prosecutors have included Audi's Chief Executive Rupert Stadler among 20 suspects accused of fraud and false advertising
Older vehicles, especially trucks, will be hit by the ban, and police will begin roadside checks as early as next week, with fines to follow in the weeks ahead.
The US Justice Department has filed criminal charges against ex-VW boss Martin Winterkorn, accusing him of conspiring to cover up diesel emissions cheating.