Germany to Cities: Go Nuts With the Diesel Bans, Starting Now

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
germany to cities go nuts with the diesel bans starting now

It’s open season on compression ignition vehicles in the Fatherland. The birthplace of the diesel engine now says German cities can implement diesel driving bans whenever, and wherever, they want.

The Friday ruling by the country’s top court comes after a lawsuit against Germany and four other European Union member states by the EU, the result of higher-than-allowed air pollution levels in numerous urban areas.

“Thanks, dad,” the country’s auto industry must be thinking.

While this may seem like a heavy-handed, “ Euro Sausage” type approach to the affairs of European nations by the EU, smog-causing nitrogen oxide isn’t a pleasant gas, and diesel vehicles — older ones especially — are the main culprit.

Germany’s top automakers, each a longtime proponent of diesel technology, stand to lose money and customers as the public, fearful of planned or future bans in their own cities, flock to gas- or electric-powered offerings. Hamburg is expected to implement a diesel ban by the end of the month. Other large cities, like Stuttgart, Dusseldorf, and Munich, could soon follow.

The ruling by the country’s administrative court in Leipzig states that cities can ban the use of diesel-powered cars and trucks on certain roadways, or sections of them, immediately. There’s no grace period. One caveat is that vehicles conforming to ultra-stringent Euro 6 emissions standards would still be allowed. This standard came into effect in 2015.

For broader areas of cities, local governments are allowed to implement a phased approach that allows the operation of vehicles meeting Euro 4 emissions standards (in effect from 2005 to 2009).

The ball really got rolling on diesel bans back in February, when Germany’s top court ruled that environmental groups could sue cities that aren’t taking proper action on enforcing European air pollution rules.

Once the court opened the door to driving bans, sales of diesel cars plunged roughly 25 percent in Germany in March (after sinking 19.5 percent in February and 17.6 percent in January). Incentives appeared on some diesel cars.

In the home country of Volkswagen Group, the automaker is currently in the midst of fixing the emissions software on 2.8 million vehicles. Mercedes-Benz and BMW could be forced to offer upgrades for vehicles with non-Euro 6 engines. According to Reuters, research firm Evercore ISI estimates the ruling could cost the country’s auto industry $17.1 billion.

[Image: ©2017 Murilee Martin/The Truth About Cars]

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  • JD-Shifty JD-Shifty on May 20, 2018

    wow, look at all the racists and trump base morons on this site

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    • Markf Markf on May 21, 2018

      @Big Al from Oz What groups are those pal? muslims? Not a race. MS-13? Not a race. So tell me again what race are "immigrants" and how is opposing them "racists"?

  • St.George St.George on May 21, 2018

    We used to live in Germany (Cologne to be exact) and moved back to the US in 2015. A couple of points:- - Fuel is expensive (taxation policy), diesels are/were therefore very popular. We had a 2008 VW Golf Kombi (known as a sportwagon here) TDi, very torquey, tiny hp but amazing on fuel. - German cities can be very grimy, I biked to work through Cologne every day, black particulates cover everything (these could come from diesel vehicles &/or the coal powerplants) - The coal industry is huge and very powerful politically. There are several massive opencast coal mines & neighboring coal fired powerplants to the West of Cologne. Trying to keep your home windows clean is very difficult.... - Everyone was always ill with low grade colds & respiratory ailments. Anecdotal for sure but obviously prevalent. It's noticeable how much cleaner things seem back in the good 'ol US. I'm sure it's not just the diesel thing but a combination of factors. Just my 5c worth.

    • Markf Markf on May 21, 2018

      I returned in 2016 after living in Germany for 5 years. Agree on your observations plus, the two times I went to Cologne I found the city to be overwhelmed by the stench of urine.......

  • MaintenanceCosts Despite my hostile comments above I really can't wait to see a video of one of these at the strip. A production car running mid-eights is just bats. I just hope that at least one owner lets it happen, rather than offloading the car from the trailer straight into a helium-filled bag that goes into a dark secured warehouse until Barrett-Jackson 2056.
  • Schurkey Decades later, I'm still peeved that Honda failed to recall and repair the seat belts in my '80 Civic. Well-known issue with the retractors failing to retract.Honda cut a deal with the NHTSA at that time, to put a "lifetime warranty" on FUTURE seat belts, in return for not having to deal with the existing problems.Dirtbags all around. Customers screwed, corporation and Government moves on.
  • Bullnuke An acquaintance of mine 50+ years ago who was attending MIT (until General Hershey's folks sent him his "Greetings" letter) converted an Austin Mini from its staid 4 cylinder to an electric motored fuel cell vehicle. It was done as a project during his progression toward a Master Degree in Electrical Engineering. He told me it worked pretty well but wasn't something to use as a daily driver given the technology and availability of suitable components of the time. Fueling LH2 and LOX was somewhat problematic. Upon completion he removed his fuel cell and equipment and, for another project, reinstalled the 4 banger but reassembled it without mechanical fasteners using an experimental epoxy adhesive instead which, he said, worked much better and was a daily driver...for awhile. He went on to be an enlisted Reactor Operator on a submarine for a few years.
  • Ajla $100k is walking around money but this is almost certainly the last Dodge V8 vehicle and it's likely to be the most powerful factory-installed and warrantied pushrod engine ever. So there is some historical applicability to things even if you have an otherwise low opinion of the Challenger.And, like I said up thread, if you still hate it will be gone soon anyway.
  • Carlson Fan GM completely blew the marketing of the Volt. The commercials were terrible. You'd swear they told the advertising company to come up with an ad that would make sure no one went out and shopped a Volt after seeing it!...........LOL My buddy asked why I bought a car that only goes 40 miles on a charge? That pretty much sums up how confusing and uninformative the advertising was.