European car manufacturers are set to face even tighter emissions targets by the end of next decade, although penalties for missing them will be reduced, under proposals from the UK, Germany and France.
Gordon Brown, along with French president Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, are lobbying the EU to impose CO2 emission restrictions of 110 grams per kilometre by 2020, on top of current targets for 120 grams by 2015.
The aim is to encourage a shift towards electrically powered vehicles, as the emission targets are thought to be almost impossible for conventional petrol and diesel engines.
The report comes alongside news from Honda that it is due to make the first hydrogen and electric powered car commercially available in Japan and the US. Around 200 of its FCX Clarity model will be available to lease, starting in California, from next month. Honda says it emits only water-vapour and is three times more fuel-efficient than a normal car. Renting one over three years will cost around $600 (£300).
Gordon Brown is meeting US president George Bush today where amongst the discussions will be the raising costs of food and fuel. Manufacturers reliant on these industries cautiously await updates.