The town council hopes to have draft legislation in place by the end of the year
Earlier this month, Munich has become the latest German city to consider outlawing some diesel vehicles from the cityâ€™s center, due to their high emission of hazardous gases. The results of a recent government air study were shocking, as very high pollution levels -especially of cancer-causing nitrogen oxide- were detected in the cityâ€™s air. The levels of NO2 were exceeding EU limits even on some Î¿f its residential areas. But Mayor Dieter Reiter is determined to change that. â€œAs much as I would welcome avoiding such bans, I think it is just as unlikely that we can continue to do without bans in the future," he said. "These things are always about weighing up different interests - and for me the health of our residents comes first," he added. Exemptions would apply for buses, taxis and diesels that meet Europeâ€™s latest Euro 6 emissions standards. Out of the 720,000 diesel cars registered in Munich, between 133,000 and 170,000 could be affected by a ban, the local newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) estimates.
The city of Stuttgart, home of Mercedes-Benz and VW's Porsche subsidiary, is already preparing for a similar ban and as of January 2018, older diesel vehicles which do not meet the latest emission standards will not be able to circulate in the city centre on days when pollution levels are particularly high.
There is a powerful car lobby in Munich, so the plan could face resistance until its final implementation. BMWâ€™s spokesman Glenn Schmidt already stated that â€˜Munichâ€™s proposal wonâ€™t solve pollution problems in the long-term. There are better, more intelligent measures like incentives for car sharing and electric mobility that would lead to a sustainable improvement.â€™ In May, the company warned that carmakers wonâ€™t be able to meet the EUâ€™s 2020 targets on CO2 emissions without diesel, which uses about 20% less fuel than gasoline engines. Daimler AG (of the Mercedes-Benz group) has also complained that such bans are unfair to customers who bought their cars as recently as 2015, before Euro 6 kicked in.