Cyprus is backing an initiative by Bulgaria, Slovenia and Poland urging the European Union to restrict the export of second hand cars from EU countries to other lower-income EU member states.
Phileleftheros said Cyprus was the first country to support the initiative of the three countries at the recent EU Environmental Council.
Four other countries then added their support — Hungary, Romania, Lithuania and Latvia, bringing the total to eight which increases the pressure on ending the import of high emission second hand cars from one group of countries to another.
Cyprus faces an uphill task in achieving its 2020 emission targets in the transport sector and could face fines.
The government is trying to meet the targets with a combination of increased fees for high emission cars and road tax incentives to buy more eco-friendly vehicles. However, the import of a large number of second hand cars, particularly diesel, is making it even more difficult to meet these targets.
The other seven EU states face a similar problem. They argue that unimpeded imports effectively shifts the problem from Germany, Belgium, Italy and the UK to other, lower income countries. The problem is expected to become more acute as some European cities ban diesel cars altogether, meaning they will be sold at even lower prices elsewhere.
Phileleftheros said the import of second hand cars from the UK will be affected by Brexit and has been raised in contacts between the two sides.