According to deputy Environment Minister Jochen Flasbarth, the German government will make things clearer for town mayors and councils as far as establishing a ban for older diesels. He also said that Chancellor Angela Merkel's government will enact the ordinance later this year and this will remove any legal uncertainty that so far has caused authorities of heavily polluted cities to hesitate to ban older diesels.
Flasbarth went on to specify the nitrogen oxide limits established by the European Union are “regularly breached” on German roads. This move will give towns and cities in Germany the legal tools to implement bans on diesel vehicles that do not meet Euro 6 regulations which refer to a NOx emission limit of 80 milligrams per kilometer.
According to the VDA industry association, almost 50% of the three million cars sold annually in Germany are powered by a diesel engine. Approximately 74% of BMW’s sales per year in its domestic market consist of diesels, with Audi’s figure standing at 67%. Interestingly, only about 33% of the diesel cars on Germany’s roads in 2015 met the Euro 6, but the good news is VDA estimates in the next five years half of the 14 million diesel cars will be replaced by new, cleaner diesels.
The German car industry association told Bloomberg in an e-mail sent last week that “it would be a fundamental mistake to badmouth diesels” and “whoever supports climate protection can't forgo diesels - environment ministers know this too.” On the other hand, the European Environment Agency estimates around 10,000 deaths In Germany are caused each year by the fine particles and NOx emitted by diesels.
Efforts to ban dirty, older diesels have intensified ever since the Volkswagen Group was caught using illegal defeat devices to enable TDI cars effectively cheat during the emissions tests. It remains to be seen how many of Germany’s towns and cities will actually enforce the ban.