Stuttgart implements Euro 4 diesel ban

01 April 2019

1 April 2019

The city of Stuttgart has introduced a ban on Euro 4 diesel vehicles, with cars powered by older engines no longer allowed within its limits.

The ban was announced last year but, unlike other cities in Germany, it covers the entire Stuttgart area and applies to all road users, including people who live in the city itself. Should anyone own a Euro 4-engine diesel, they will not be allowed to park it outside their own home.

Vehicles with engines conforming to the Euro 5 emissions standard will not be affected at the moment but a decision on whether to extend the ban will be made after examining emissions results in mid-2019, the city said.

The 1 April date was chosen by authorities to give owners living in the vicinity time to upgrade their vehicles. According to figures from the KBA, the Federal Motor Transport Authority, as of January 1, 2018, a total of 534,573 diesel cars are registered in the Stuttgart region, Böblingen, Esslingen, Göppingen, Ludwigsburg and the Rems-Murr district. 34% of them meet the Euro 5 standard, which equates to 183,358 cars. In addition, there are 188,163 Euro 1-4 diesel cars on the road, corresponding to a share of 35% of all diesel vehicles. Therefore, 163,052 diesel vehicles (31%) conform to the Euro 6 standard.

Stuttgart has implemented the restrictions following a court ruling in February 2018 that it was legal for city authorities in the country to bring in diesel bans to reduce air pollution levels that were threatening to spiral out of control. Hamburg has already introduced bans, while Frankfurt is soon to follow with plans of its own.

However, the EU has already given the German Government the power to repeal several already agreed-upon bans. Germany is also prepared to pay fines rather than ban diesels from cities, while DÜsseldorf and Munich, two of the top five most polluting cities in the country, are working on other methods to reduce air pollution and are resisting calls to restrict diesels.

Additionally, carmakers are adamant that the bans are unjustified. Nevertheless, they are being forced into a costly retrofitting programme, adding new exhaust technologies to older vehicles to reduce the levels of nitrogen oxide (NOx) – a key contributor to air pollution.

Any bans enforced in Germany are unlikely to include Euro 6 models for the foreseeable future. Statistics released by the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) highlighted that modern diesel engines are some of the cleanest ever produced. This has not, however, helped to prevent sales of diesel vehicles plummeting in Europe over the last year.