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German city diesel ban stands

Domino: A German court ruling on diesel car bans might have a far-reaching impact on diesel vehicles across Europe and beyond.

Court upholds German cities’ right to ban older diesel vehicles to curb pollution

General News logo28 Feb 2018

GERMAN cities will be permitted to ban older diesel vehicles from polluted areas under a landmark court ruling that is seen as another nail in the coffin of oil-burning cars and trucks in Europe.

The Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig upheld a decision by lower courts in Stuttgart and Duesseldorf, ruling that bans on older diesel vehicles were “generally permissible”.

The action was brought by environmental group DUH after it was revealed that more than 60 German cities exceeded the European Union’s permitted levels of nitrogen oxide (NOx) – a major cause of urban smog and resultant respiratory disease – set at a maximum of 40 micrograms per square metre.

In Stuttgart – the home of Mercedes-Benz and Porsche – average NOx levels reportedly were double the allowable level last year.

Sales of diesel vehicles in Germany have plummeted from 48 per cent in 2015 to just 39 per cent last year as consumers grow wary of that technology in the wake of Volkswagen’s ‘dieselgate’ scandal and a growing push by major cities across Europe to ban diesel.

One German news report suggests the country’s second biggest city, Hamburg, is planning to phase in diesel restrictions on its two worst-affected streets within a fortnight.

German chancellor Angela Merkel urged vehicle manufacturers to retrofit technical modifications to older vehicles to allow owners to continue to drive in inner cities.

Without such modifications, millions of drivers could be forced to leave their cars at home in certain cities. The resale value of such vehicles also could be expected to plummet.

According to the BBC, only 2.7 million of Germany’s 15 million diesel cars meet the latest Euro 6 emissions standards.

In other countries, major cities such as Madrid, Paris, Athens and Mexico City have pledged to ban all diesel cars from entering the cities by 2025, while London and Copenhagen have proposed introducing bans of petrol and diesel cars in some areas of those cities within a year.

Several counties, including the United Kingdom and Denmark, has promised to phase out sales all new fossil fuel vehicles by 2040.

In response, some manufacturers such as Porsche, Toyota and Volvo have decided to phase out diesel and push into electrification.

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