Stuttgart moves to ban most diesel cars

Most diesel-fuelled vehicles will be banned from the center of Stuttgart on smoggy days. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.
Most diesel-fuelled vehicles will be banned from the center of Stuttgart on smoggy days. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

The German city of Stuttgart is reportedly taking moves to ban diesel-fuelled vehicles from certain parts of the city.

The measures, which are being taken in order to reduce air pollution, will make it illegal to drive the majority of current diesel vehicles within the city’s center.

According to a government announcement, the ban will effect all diesel-fuelled vehicles which do not meet the most stringent ‘Euro 6’ emissions standard.

This would make up more than 90% of the diesel vehicles currently on the road in Germany, making it close to a blanket ban.

The ban itself will only be active on days in which air pollution levels exceed a certain amount.

Stuttgart, due to its location in a valley, is often subject to significant air pollution, with many days exceeding EU air pollution standards. The European Commission has threatened to fine Germany should it not take measures to reduce the air pollution problem.

The regulation itself is slated to come into effect in 2018, however the exact details are yet to be officially finalized.

One exception may be made in the final law allowing certain freight vehicles to still reach the city center on high-pollution days.

Stuttgart currently serves as an automobile manufacturing hub in Germany, home to companies such as Mercedes-Benz and Porsche, making this ban all the more noteworthy.

Diesel cars: greenwashed no longer

This law in Germany comes as part of a greater tide of opposition to diesel-fuelled vehicles across Europe.

Originally, these vehicles were portrayed by manufacturers as being a ‘green’ option, due to their reduced CO2 emissions compared to standard gasoline vehicles.

Now, however, countries have noted that these vehicles instead produce larger amounts of nitrogen oxide emissions which cause respiratory disease.

As well, the reputation of diesel-fuelled vehicles was further tarnished by Volkswagen’s so-called ‘Dieselgate’ scandal where the company was found to be misleading customers and governments as to their pollutant emissions.

Stuttgart’s law follows a similar move in London, also struggling with air pollution, which forces drivers of polluting vehicles to pay a £10 fee to enter the city center.