While cars with diesel engines used to be considered particularly environmentally friendly, the picture has changed dramatically. Today there is talk of pollutants that pollute the air. Experts assume that diesel engines are responsible for increasing air pollution in major German cities. In order to protect the urban population from damage to health, some cities such as Berlin, Munich, Bremen and Stuttgart have decided to introduce a blue environmental sticker for diesel vehicles, which would allow driving into the city even with high levels of air pollution.
The blue environmental badge
The blue environmental badge is only given to those who meet the Euro 6 standard. This means that diesel engines may emit a maximum of 80 milligrams of nitrogen oxides. However, only a few cars currently meet this standard. That would mean that especially drivers of older diesel vehicles with high pollutant emissions would no longer be allowed to drive into the city. This raises the question of whether locking out so-called dirty diesel vehicles is the right approach and whether such a measure can be implemented at all. In addition, it would have to be clarified what consequences the Euro 6 standard would have for German drivers.
Who would be affected by the measure?
According to the Federal Motor Transport Authority, there are currently around 14.5 million diesel cars in Germany. Of these, however, only around 1.3 million meet the new Euro 6 standard. This would mean that 13.2 million drivers would be prohibited from driving their cars into the city in poor air conditions. However, it seems to be the only solution, because the harmful limit value of nitrogen dioxide is regularly exceeded in this country. The limit set by the European Union is 40 percent. In the last year alone, this value was in some cases considerably exceeded at over sixty measuring stations, especially on busy roads. The victims of this air pollution are the people who have to live in this unhealthy air. Medical analyzes have shown that nitrogen dioxide significantly increases the risk of a stroke or cancer. It is questionable whether the plans for the driving ban can even be implemented.
Is the driving ban for dirty diesel vehicles coming?
The chances of enforcing the blue sticker and, in bad air, of issuing a driving ban for cars that do not comply with the EU-6 emissions standard are relatively good. At least the Federal Environment Ministry is behind the sticker and the driving ban. There already seems to be consensus on two important factors. According to State Secretary for the Environment Flasbarth, the future restricted zones for diesel vehicles should not coincide with the existing environmental zones (green sticker). Rather, the diesel zones should cover their own, smaller area. It is also clear that the diesel driving ban is a matter for the municipalities, as the federal government is not responsible here and cannot even issue a corresponding driving ban. Nevertheless, there is still a lot to talk about with regard to the blue sticker. Cities like Munich and Berlin even fear that the badge could lead to inappropriate social hardship. For example, exemptions would have to be created for residents and local companies.
What does the federal government say about air pollution in cities?
Because the limit values are regularly exceeded, the European Union has already initiated proceedings against Germany. The EU Commission is of the opinion that the German government has so far dealt too half-heartedly with the problem of air pollution in large cities. It would be too cautious to act, especially with diesel vehicles. This creates the impression that the government would prefer to delegate the air pollution problem to the auto industry. However, the VW emissions scandal in the USA has shown that the auto industry is not entirely honest on this point. Although the problem with car manufacturers is well known, the federal government has so far failed to take appropriate action.