Stuttgart’s diesel driving ban ‘not carved in stone’

10 April 2017

Stuttgart’s diesel driving ban ‘not carved in stone’

10 April 2017

The Green Party’s Minister President of Baden-Württemberg, Winfried Kretschmann, has said in an interview with the newspaper Stuttgarter Zeitung that the proposed diesel driving ban in Stuttgart from 2018 is 'not carved in stone. The retrofitting of older diesel cars to meet the Euro 6 emissions standard is seen as pivotal in the final decision on the proposals, which could yet be withdrawn. 

The discussions around diesel driving bans have had a further detrimental impact on the reputation of diesel cars and Kretschmann himself has said that a large part of the prosperity in Baden-Württemberg and thousands of jobs depends on diesel technology. A prerequisite for the proposed diesel driving ban in Stuttgart, which will exclude diesel cars which do not conform to the Euro 6 standard, is that the industry succeeds in retrofitting older diesel engines to comply with Euro 6 limits 

As far as retrofitting is concerned, the economic signals are more positive now than a few weeks ago,’ Kretschmann said. He also conceded that ‘I should have had a clearer view: for normal consumers, a motor vehicle is a huge purchase, in which the resale value is also a relevant consideration. People are concerned that a significant reduction in value could follow. But objectively, you do not have to sell your car because of a few days' driving ban, when you can get to the city by other means, whether by car-sharing or by bus and train. Besides, we have not yet even confirmed driving bans, and perhaps they will not come at all. 

Under the proviso that the retrofitting works and we reach the targets to be achieved with the air pollution plan, the driving bans are still not carved in stone,Kretschmann said.If we can reduce the fine dust by other means than by driving bans, for example by intelligent road cleaning, and if we can reduce the nitrogen oxides by retrofitting, we have successfully tackled both problems, the Minister President added. He has even concluded that ‘In the case of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, which is extremely harmful to the climate, diesel is better than petrol engines. 

The state parliament in Baden-Württemberg has also stated that carmakers should pay for the conversion of older diesel engines to the Euro 6 standard. ‘The car industry should make its contribution by investing in a fund that covers some of the retrofitting costs for users, said SPD parliamentary party spokesman Andreas Stoch. He expects car manufacturers, to be working under high pressure on retrofit solutions.’ However, he emphasised that this should not be a business model and also supported the CDU's proposal that the state should pay a subsidy for the retrofitting.