EU member states reached a preliminary agreement last year that forces car manufacturers to cut new car emissions by 55% in 2030 from 2021 levels and by 100% in 2035.

This plan, which is part of the community bloc's effort to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, effectively means that the sale of new cars that burn hydrocarbon-based fuels, such as petroleum, would be banned, reported the Associated Press agency (AP).

Some countries, such as Germany, have asked the European Commission, the EU's executive body, to create an exemption for cars that burn so-called 'e-fuels', arguing that these can be produced using renewable energy and carbon captured from the air, so that no more climate-altering emissions are released into the atmosphere.

The German Transport Minister, Volker Wissing, said that the European Commission has not made any proposal and that, therefore, Germany will refrain from supporting the ban that is being prepared by the EU.

Volker Wissing stressed that synthetic fuels need to be produced in large quantities as quickly as possible to meet the demand for cars sold before 2035, as well as heavy goods vehicles, ships, and planes.

“The EU Commission must propose a regulation that allows combustion engines to be registered after 2035, if they can only be fed with synthetic fuels”, defended the German minister, in statements to journalists in Berlin.

This issue has generated an ideological division within the Government between the Liberal Democratic Party of Wissing and the environmentalist Green Party, which supports a total ban on combustion engines.

Germany's main opposition party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), has also opposed an EU-wide ban on combustion-engine vehicles, warning it would harm the country's valuable car industry.

Critics say battery-electric technology is better suited for light cars and precious synthetic fuels should only be used where no other option is viable, such as aviation.

Benjamin Stephan of Greenpeace said that studies show that the same amount of electricity will take a battery-powered vehicle five times farther than a car running on synthetic fuel.

"This inefficient and expensive fuel will not matter for cars, especially for new cars in 2035", he defended, adding that it would be better for the German car industry to invest in electric vehicles.