America is not the only political battle grown over fuel efficiency standards. A large Diplomatic spat is growing in Europe between France and German over the issue.

France is trying to put the brakes on the German effort to skew European fuel efficiency legislation in favour of heavier cars amid fears that it would price the country’s small models out of the market.

German luxury makers have campaigned strongly to have higher emission limits for heavier cars. France wants a flat figure.

With the European Commission set next month to unveil proposals on how to cut carbon emissions from new cars by a quarter by 2012, Jean-Louis Borloo, French environment minister, pointed to figures showing the gap between the two countries’s carmakers widened further last year.

French producers reduced emissions by 1.9 per cent while German producers increased them 0.6 per cent, new figures show. “Nothing justifies giving a bigger right to pollute to the buyer of a bigger vehicle” said Borloo. “By virtue of the polluter pays principle, those with the biggest pollution should make the biggest progress”.

That makes sense to me.