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German Courts Rule That Yes, Cities Can Ban Diesel Cars

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Last week, we covered car news out of Germany as the legality of cities completely banning diesel vehicles in order to keep out harmful air pollution was brought before the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig, which instead of returning a prompt verdict as was expected, said “give us some time to think about it,” and pushed back the deadline for the decision until the 29th.

Well, it seems that it didn’t really need all that much time to think about it, as the court has officially ruled that yes, German towns and cities are allowed to ban diesel cars within their limits in the interest of keeping out air pollution.

This has thrown open the door to prohibitions of the millions of diesels currently on the roads from entering the congested areas, although it isn’t to be seen as coaxing cities to go through, merely allowing it.

As expected, the reactions are mixed. On the one side, wildly applauding the decision, are environmental groups, such as the group Environmental Action Germany, which set off the original lawsuits, and whose head Jürgen Resch commented, “Today is a very big day for clean air in Germany,” later adding, “The flooding of cities with poisonous diesel exhausts is over. These cars don’t belong in our cities anymore.”

On the other hand, carmakers and dealers that have been selling those same diesel cars are surely morosely tallying up potential losses, while some speak out against the bans in general, saying that government should instead incentivize alternative measures, with one pro-business political party leader, Christian Lindner, pointing out that these bans are a ridiculous reversal for European politicians who had for years pushed people to buy diesel cars.

Either way, the door is now open to the cities to decide for themselves whether to ban diesel vehicles and how the regulations would work–whether that means a wholesale ban or just bans on older, more polluting models.

We can only speculate whether findings that diesel vehicle have for a long time not been in compliance with dangerous emissions limits have something to do with the decision.

News Source: Washington Post