German court defers ruling on banning diesel cars in cities

A German court has deferred a decision on whether to allow a ban on diesel cars in cities to lower air pollution, a move that could have drastic consequences for the country's powerful auto industry.

The Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig began hearing the case Thursday and had been expected to issue a verdict within hours.

But judges said the process had taken longer than expected and set a date of Feb. 27 for a ruling.

The court is hearing an appeal by two German states against lower court rulings that suggested driving bans for particularly dirty diesel cars would be effective and should be seriously considered as a means of protecting public health.