It took a long, hard fight with automakers and a major compromise for the European Commission to finally establish 2021's stricter CO2 emissions standards for the EU. Now, another battle is looming on the horizon as the European regulator works to create more stringent rules for 2025. Much like the last time, car companies believe that the new levels would be impossible to achieve.

Under the current rules, European automakers' average new-car CO2 emissions must be 95g/km by 2021. The European Commission is now considering the 2025 limits, and the agency is aiming to cut the level to somewhere between 68 and 78g/km, according to Automotive News Europe. However, the ACEA, the lobbying group for the auto industry there, is trying to push back the changes until 2030.

The ACEA claims that it "may not be possible" to reach the stricter averages in such a short amount of time, according to Automotive News Europe. If passed, the figures would be a 30-percent emissions reduction compared to 2005. Making further cuts even remotely feasible is likely going to require even more use of alternative fuels and electrification.

There are some powerful groups challenging the ACEA, though. According to Automotive News Europe, the environmental ministers from the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, and Ireland want to keep the 2025 numbers tough. The countries see this as an opportunity to further expand zero-emissions vehicles in the coming years.

In general, the tide appears to be shifting against the internal combustion engine in some parts of Europe. France especially is rather vocal about transitioning away from diesel, and there are similar statements out of the UK. Norway has shown that the right incentives can really help grow ZEV popularity, too.

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