Car makers have been praised by the European Commission for doing their bit to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Between 1995 and 2004, CO2 emissions dropped by 12.4% and continue a sustained downward trend in pollutants caused by the motoring industry. But the EC warned that much was still to be done by manufacturers if the ambitious 25% reduction target was going to be met by 2009.

Gunter Verheugen, vice-president of the commission, said: "Car manufacturers have made continuous and substantial progress since 1995. The situation is not satisfactory. I urge industry to step up their efforts. We expect that industry sticks to its commitments".

"To combat climate change and respect our Kyoto commitments we have to reduce CO2 emissions from transport - a sector whose emissions contribute significantly to overall emissions. I appreciate the efforts of some car manufacturers to market cars that emit less CO2."

Road travel results in 20% of all CO2 emissions in the EU, with passenger cars accounting for more than half due to the high proportion using unleaded fuels as opposed to the more economical diesel varieties.

The EC is aiming to reduce CO2 emissions caused by transportation to 120g/km over the next 6 years.