Welcome to the strange world of the European Union, where rules mean whatever you want them to mean.

According to the latest figures from environmental website, CleanGreenCars, approximately half of all car manufacturers will miss the EU's "mandatory" 2012 target of average vehicle CO2 emissions of 130 g/km of CO2.

Yet none of them will pay a fine – because loopholes have been inserted that means every manufacturer which misses the target will have their own special exemption. Firstly, the limit only applies to the cleanest 65% of a manufacturer's sales – so the dirty cars are exempted altogether. Then any manufacturer who sells fewer than 300,000 cars a year in Europe is also exempt – after all, what difference could five manufacturers making 250,000 each make to pollution? Finally, large manufacturers who make large cars get a more lenient target – that was negotiated by the Germans, funnily enough.

So all the manufacturers will get a grade of A* from the EU come December 2012, despite the fact that some of them will completely fail to get to the pass mark.

As it happens, the lowest CO2 manufacturers are Fiat (113 g/km) and Toyota (117 g/km). Of the mainstream manufacturers, the worst are Mazda (139 g/km) and Chevrolet (146 g/km). However, some premium and niche brands have figures a lot higher than that: Jeep is on 197 g/km.