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Business

Still No Decision on Filters for Diesel Cars

The German government has still not made a decision on whether it will subsidize diesel-powered cars outfitted with particulate filters. On Monday, a summit between top players from Europe's car industry and German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder dealt with the topic as well as the general competitiveness of the auto industry. But German government spokesman Bela Anda said after the meeting that a decision on the particulate filters would take some time. Diesel cars are common in Europe because the fuel is less heavily taxed than petrol. But since diesel engines generate significantly higher emissions and the fine particles contained in them are suspected of causing cancer and respiratory ailments, German Environment Minister Jürgen Trittin is pushing to subsidize clean diesel cars by as much as €600 ($740) per year starting 2005. However, the German car industry led by Volkswagen is against the move. VW contends that its turbo diesel technology can reduce the smoke from diesel engines and fears that a move to subsidize particulate filters would hand other car manufacturers an unfair price advantage.