Politicians face pressure from activists to use bans and other harsh measures to prevent thousands of premature deaths the fumes are estimated to cause each year.

The German government will Tuesday present its compromise on the way forward for millions of people with older, more polluting diesel cars, with manufacturers potentially facing a steep bill for the crisis precipitated by an emissions cheating scandal.

After Chancellor Angela Merkel and key ministers deliberated late into Monday night, her conservative CDU/CSU alliance and coalition partners the Social Democrats (SPD) announced "a concept for clean air and to secure mobility in our cities". Details are to be presented Tuesday.

The diesel summit aimed to purge city air of pollutants while sparing car owners additional costs.

At stake are potentially billions of euros in trade-in bonuses for buyers of new cars and costs to refit older vehicles, as well as the future of the auto sector and its 800,000 jobs.

Major cities Hamburg and Stuttgart have closed parts of their territory to older diesels and court-ordered bans are looming elsewhere.

Above all, "we want to avoid further driving bans," Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer told news agency DPA ahead of the start of the meeting on Monday evening.

Manufacturers could however face a steep bill, with SPD Environment Minister Svenja Schulze stressing that it was "the car industry that got us into trouble, and it should pay for it".

Three years have passed since Volkswagen's 2015 admission to installing cheating devices in 11 million vehicles worldwide, allowing them to secretly spew far more harmful nitrogen oxide (NOx) than legally permitted.

Since then, other carmakers like BMW and Daimler have been targeted in official probes and forced to recall thousands of vehicles. [Agencies]


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