Germany softens the limits to diesel cars or will reward those who can not drive with them. After a marathon meeting that lasted more than six hours and that culminated in the early hours of Tuesday, the Grand Coalition Government managed to agree on a package of measures aimed at preventing the ban on traffic affecting the most polluting diesel vehicles, or at least to give an alternative to their owners. The coalition has agreed on measures that will allow citizens to "maintain their mobility" even if they are prohibited from driving. The measures are aimed at diesel cars that meet the Euro 4 and Euro 5 standards, which came into force in 2005 and 2009, respectively, and that with the limits that were being approved for areas restricted by high pollution in 14 large cities would remain without being able to circulate.
New higher limits. The measures approved by the German Government include a new limit value for emissions of Euro 4 and Euro 5 cars, which may circulate in areas with traffic bans if they emit less than 270 milligrams of nitrogen oxide per kilometer. So far, the limit for Euro 5 vehicles is 180 milligrams. If the car in question does not fall below this value, the owners of the vehicle must receive two alternative offers.
Discounts for another car. For those who can not drive, the first offer includes discounts: according to the document, the German manufacturers have committed to offer owners of diesel vehicles Euro 4 and Euro 5 an exchange program "with attractive conversion bonuses or discounts", which can vary between 6,000 and 10,000 euros.
"German car manufacturers have promised the federal government to offer owners of diesel vehicles Euro 4 and Euro 5 an exchange program with attractive conversion rates or discounts," the document said. Unlike most previous discount campaigns, these discounts will now also apply to used vehicles.
Adjustment systems. Alternatively to the offers, secondly, a re-equipment of the hardware, that is, change the necessary elements of the car so that it does not contaminate over the limit. According to the document, the federal government "expects the car manufacturer in question to assume the costs, including installation costs." But the document does not include the position of the industry in this regard, although OPEL and BMW have already indicated that they reject the updates of the hardware.
Differences with the industry
During a press conference held in Berlin the Federal Minister of Transport, Andreas Scheuer (CSU), was satisfied with the agreement, but noted that differences still persisted with the industry regarding the updating of the hardware. "In the case of updates of hardware, we still have to have conversations with the industry, not only in the financial aspect, but also in the technical aspect, "he added.
Last year 65 German cities still exceeded the limit value of 40 micrograms of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) per cubic meter of air, compared to 90 in 2016. The document lists the 14 cities that are "particularly polluted" -Munich, Stuttgart , Cologne, Reutlingen, Düren, Hamburg, Limburg, Düsseldorf, Kiel, Heilbronn, Backnang, Darmstadt, Bochum and Ludwigsburg – and leaves open the possibility that other cities such as Frankfurt or Berlin join the list.