E.U., Germany duke it out over auto emissions standards

Once upon a time, the European Union proposed a carbon-dioxide emissions limit on all vehicles made or imported there. But Germany — home of Volkswagen, BMW, DaimlerChrysler, and Porsche — has yanked on the e-brake. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the country would not support a blanket emissions rule, though it would support case-by-case standards. So the E.U. is backing down — but not without Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas, who authored the failed plan, shaking his tiny fist and threatening to replace his Mercedes with a Prius. Sock it to ’em, Stavvy! This week the E.U. also proposed requiring oil companies to cut fuel emissions 10 percent by 2020. The proposal drew fire from refineries and from greens, who said it was meaningless without vehicle-emissions standards in place. “Focusing on fuel quality alone … is like trying to quench a forest fire with a water pistol,” said one member of the European Parliament. It’s enough to make you drive off a cliff, eh Stavvy?