The Germans have an idea: when calculating fleetwide emissions rules at the end of the decade, don't count the 20 percent of our vehicles that are truly road-mauling gas guzzlers. That's more or less what the German government is asking for in its attempt to get the European Union to be a little more lenient about its strict emissions mandate for 2020, Bloomberg News reports.

German environment minister Peter Altmaier says the government is in talks with the EU about lightening up a bit on the German auto industry, which includes luxury and higher-end sports car makers like BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche. Right now, Europe's automakers are charged with cutting emissions by about 30 percent to 95 grams of CO2 per kilometer by the end of the decade. Germany says it's OK with that if the EU counts only 80 percent of its new vehicles, boosting that percentage up to 90 percent in 2022 and going full compliance in 2024, four years after the current goal.

German officials have been lobbying for a more lenient 2020 emissions mandate since at least this summer, and BMW has said the current standards would be "impossible" to meet. That's because Germany's fleetwide CO2 emissions are about 11 percent higher than the rest of Europe's, and German automakers would have to cut fleetwide emissions by about 55 percent to meet the EU's 2020 target.

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