The German government says it blocked a European Union agreement on capping carbon emissions from cars because the deal would have harmed its domestic auto industry.

Environmental campaigners had lobbied to limit emissions from passenger cars to 95 grams of CO2 per kilometer within seven years.

But Germany wants to allow automakers such as BMW, Daimler and Audi to collect 'credits' they can use to offset higher pollution levels beyond 2020.

Government spokesman Georg Streiter says Germany asked for a decision on the issue to be postponed Thursday because "a fair solution also has to take account of the particularities of the German auto industry" whose emissions are above EU average.

Streiter said Friday that Germany "wouldn't be doing so well today if the auto industry were doing badly."