The European Commission is reportedly on the brink of a showdown with some of the continent's biggest oil firms over the cost of biofuel development. The EC currently believes that too much of the responsibility for driving biofuel uptake is being borne by carmakers.

The EC is to set firm targets for vehicle carbon emissions per kilometer next year after an impact assessment of both industries has taken place. However, Brussels authorities apparently want the principle of a shared burden agreed now, according to a report in the Financial Times.

A likely target of 120 grams of CO2 per kilometer traveled by 2012 has already been dismissed as too costly by the auto industry. The carmakers believe that by imposing such a target, the price of a vehicle could be forced up markedly by the increased cost of R&D required to reach this level of fuel efficiency.

The fuel sector meanwhile refuses to agree to the EC’s proposals until a firm business assessment has been reached. Wilhelm Bonse-Geuking, head of BP’s European business and president of the European Petroleum Industry Association, told the newspaper that, all we propose and beg and request is let’s do an assessment before we go down a certain route on biofuels.