The EU has approved a law that will require all new cars sold from 2035 to have zero emissions, but has also passed an amendment allowing new cars running on e-fuels to be sold after that date.
Last year the states making up the EU agreed a deal that was expected to outlaw the sales of any car with an internal combustion engine.
But shortly before the deal was due to be ratified Germany called for an exemption for cars running on e-fuels.
E-fuels are argued to be carbon neutral because they use captured CO2 emissions to balance out the CO2 released when the fuel is combusted in an engine. However, e-fuels are not yet produced at scale.
After Germany called for the e-fuels change, there were suggestions that such vehicles would have to use technology that would prevent them from running if other fuels were introduced.
The EU will say how sales of e-fuel-only cars can continue later this year.
The new EU law will require all new cars sold to have zero CO2 emissions from 2035, and 55% lower CO2 emissions from 2030, compared to 2021 levels.
Brexit means any change in EU law would not automatically apply in the UK, but current vehicle legislation runs in parallel with EU rules, meaning cars that are deemed to meet legal requirements in the EU also meet UK requirements.