By on December 10, 2013


If you happen to live outside of Germany, you may soon find yourself paying a toll to do your best Burt Reynolds and Dom DeLuise impressions on the Autobahn.

The reason? While residents living in the nine countries surrounding Germany make extensive use of the Autobahn in their travels, the Germans are left footing the bill for maintenance on the famous infrastructure. Since foreigners don’t pay taxes to Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition government has opted to enact a toll aimed at non-German citizens in order to share responsibilities.

The plan has detractors, of course, ranging from Austria’s transport minister Dores Bures threatening to take Germany to the European Court of Justice over the toll, to German auto club ADAC stating that even the potential revenue wouldn’t be enough to cover all the Autobahn’s maintenance costs.

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17 Comments on “Foreigners May Pay Toll to Storm the Autobahn...”

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  • avatar

    The myth of the Autobahn as the “go fast as you want whenever you want” nirvana is just that. A myth. With too many slow trucks and cars around the cities, it’s just another freeway. Or tollway as this article suggests.

    • 0 avatar

      And yet, there are large stretches where you can, in fact, go as fast as you want.

      I am all for tolls in general. Don’t want to pay them, take a different route.

  • avatar

    I want to take the A5 to Umleitung Irgendwo…

    There are still spots that I’ve driven in the last few years (the A8 heading towards Stuttgart just before Pforzheim) where I was able to see an indicated 250 kms on the speedometer…fun stuff. Around the cities, completely different tune.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s not just the overall high speed, it’s the smooth surface with brilliant drainage and even curves. Most of the bends and on and off ramps have a non-variable curve so you’re not constantly correcting the wheel (assuming your car is in good shape).
      The whole experience, top speed aside, is an easier drive.

      • 0 avatar

        SH-130 opened last year in Texas, connecting Austin with San Antonio (or rather I-10 east of San Antonio).

        The road really shows how much freeway design has improved in the last 50 years. At the 85 mph speed limit, it’s uneventful. The banking makes the car nearly steer itself. If it weren’t for the extra distance out of the way and the cost (85 MPH easily knocks me down to 25 mpg, in addition to the tolls), it would be my preferred route to Austin.

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    I very much doubt the tolls will be based on German citizenship. Rather, German-registered cars (including rental cars) will likely be exempt from tolls.

    • 0 avatar

      I doubt this will go anywhere. A similar story, based on the idea of non-UK registered vehicle paying a levy, crops up now and again in the UK in response to the perception that non-UK registered trucks are ruining the roads.
      When it comes up, the other European Union members slap it down and it slides away for another slow news day.
      Given the much greater integration Germany has with Europe by comparison with the UK, I’d say this is a German electioneering quick win rather than a viable plan.

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    Oh Germany. Just use a tiny wee bit of those trade surpluses to fix the highways, will ya?

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    “Austria’s transport minister Dores Bures threatening to take Germany to the European Court of Justice over the toll”

    Ironically, the Austrians already do the same thing, except the locals have to pay for the sticker, too.

    The Swiss likewise have a toll sticker requirement, while the French have traditional toll roads. The idea isn’t all that radical.

  • avatar

    ” the Germans are left footing the bill for maintenance on the famous infrastructure.”

    This is incorrect.

    Foreigners pay to German taxes through petrol and diesel.
    The numbers according to ADAC:
    – 5% of the German traffic is by foreign vehicles.
    – €53B are paid by foreigners in fuel taxes.
    – €19B are used to maintain the Autobahns.

    This is a pure money machine and it is against the European directive that you may not put additional taxes onto people of other nationalities.

    • 0 avatar

      The way they are planning to get around that is to have a relatively inexpensive annual permit (which will make sense for locals), and expensive daily permits (which the tourists will end up buying).

      • 0 avatar
        Japanese Buick

        There has been extensive and interesting discussion of this at skyscraper city, highways and Autobahns forum, Germany thread.

        A lot of the support for this is pure pique…Germans are sick of paying tolls to drive in other EU counties then watching drivers from those countries drive for free on the autobahn. As long as it at least breaks even, they’ll be happy.

  • avatar

    I saw a segment on RT the other week claiming the EU is trying to enforce a speed limit on the entire Autobahn network, meaning no more unlimited speedo. And now they even want to charge foreigners to just drive on it lol!

    • 0 avatar

      General speedlimit on the Autobahn won’t happen.
      The ADAC (German auto club with 18 million members) will lobby against any idea of a general speed limit that will put the NRA to shame.

  • avatar

    How much would the toll be?

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