The Federal Administrative Court (BVerG) has decided that diesel driving bans in cities can be a tried and tested means of meeting the required limits. Whether this can lead to supply shortages, remains to be seen, because even here, the court points to a proportionate action.
The diesels will not disappear from the cities so fast. Why? Modern diesel engines with the Euro 6 emission standard have nothing to fear. They will continue to be able to travel around the cities without restriction. And also Euro 5 engines receive at least in Stuttgart a judicial grace period until the coming year (BVerG 7 C 26.16). They must not be banned from traffic until 1 September 2019. By the way, by that time the Euro 6 standard will be already four years old.
The modern diesel may stay
Given the average life span of trucks and vans of a four-year period, most of the economically active transport and freight forwarding companies should not be very worried. At the latest, they will replace the old vehicles with new ones at regular intervals. It should also be taken into account that the diesel according to the calculations of the German Logistics Association (BVL) still emits less carbon dioxide than gasoline. This should be taken into account in the future planning of driving bans and purchases. The diesel fuel does not need to be demonized. After all, gasoline engines are no alternative in the long run. The BVerG also demands a ban on vehicles with gasoline engines below emission class 3.
Meaningful transport policy necessary
The ruling reveals that politicians have failed in recent years to find clean solutions to the emerging problem. A consistent expansion of a modern transport infrastructure and targeted support for the introduction of alternative fuels are still lacking today. Rather, it is the transport and logistics companies that are already trying to find solutions for modern city logistics with alternatives such as electric and natural gas vehicles and e-freight bicycles. So Florian Gerster, chairman of the Federal Association of parcel and express logistics, rightly demands that the policy now has to set the course for a meaningful change in traffic.
In its press release, the industry association Bitkom points out that driving bans are only a way to tamper with the symptoms. The cause remains untouched – and that is just an inefficient private transport based on fossil fuels. But there are different solutions existing. In Stockholm, years ago, traffic-related emissions were cut by 20 percent by introducing intelligent traffic management.