When you think of German driving, you probably conjure up images of cars whizzing by at high speed on the German Autobahn with no speed limits or other restrictions. That was the “good old days”.
Now, increasingly, in the wake of the Volkswagen diesel crisis, driving in Germany is subject to limitations.
Starting in January 2019, older diesel vehicles, including up to at least the version EURO 4, will probably be banned from the roads within the city Stuttgart.
NOx levels in Stuttgart have been known to frequently exceed the EU’s permissible NOx limit, prompting challenges in court. In February 2018, the highest court for administrative issues in Germany, the Bundesverwaltungsgericht in Leipzig, ruled that Stuttgart (and other cities) may, in principle, ban diesel vehicles to ensure compliance with air quality standards.
Now, discussions are ongoing within the Stuttgart government regarding the details of the ban: which vehicles will be banned, if exceptions are to be permitted, etc.
The government of the city Hamburg instituted a ban of all diesel vehicles that do not fulfill the EURO 6 norm for specific streets in the city to keep NOx levels within permitted levels. The police began issuing citations this week for non-compliance, issuing fines of Eur 75 for trucks and Eur 25 for autos.
Bans of older diesel vehicles are also being discussed in the Netherlands.
CLEAN Foundation promotes clean air for all. Banning older diesel vehicles may be reasonable as part of this effort. Ensuring affected VW diesel vehicles are taken off the road or truly “fixed” so their NOx emissions comply with EU air quality standards under real world driving conditions is even more reasonable. The costs associated with this should be borne by VW. Instead, it is consumers who are shouldering the burden of increased Dieselgate NOx by facing driving bans.
Following the VW diesel crisis, visions of unrestricted driving in Germany can best be seen in the rear-view mirror.