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German Cities Considering Ban on Older Diesels

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The German city areas in worst violation of EU PM limits. Click to enlarge.

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reports that a number of Germany’s major cities are considering plans to ban older diesel vehicles so as to meet European targets on the reduction of PM emissions.

An EU-wide law passed in April 1999 established binding limits on emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and oxides of nitrogen, lead and PM10. For PM, the 24-hour limit value is 50 µg/m3, not to be exceeded more than 35 times in a calendar year. (Earlier post.) So far this year, 15 German urban areas have already exceeded the 35-day limit, with an additional number soon to do so.

In total, 350 German cities and urban areas have exceeded the 35-day limit by at least 1 day so far this year, according to statistics from the German Umweltbundesamt.

The proposed ban on older diesels, which are worse emitters of PM, could affect as many as five million cars and trucks in the country. It would also presumably spur an increase in the purchase of newer, cleaner vehicles as replacements.

Stuttgart reportedly has planned a measure that will bar diesels older than model year 1992 beginning in 2007. In 2009, the threshold model year will increase to 1999 and Frankfurt plans a low-pollution zone starting in 2008. The German Association of Cities (Der Deutscher Städtetag) notes that many other cities have similar plans ready.

Older cars that are retrofitted to meet current emissions standards would be exempted. But the Euro-1 and Euro-2 class vehicles at which these plans would be targeted would be costly to retrofit, even assuming parts were available.

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