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Dirty trucks pay more

A new Eurovignette for trucks is to be based more on the vehicles' CO2 emissions. This should create an incentive to invest in low-emission trucks. But the different implementation of the countries could cause confusion. Meanwhile, Germany is being sued by many companies because of the existing truck toll.

For years, delivery traffic on European roads has been subject to tolls. According to a decision of the European Union, the tolls are to be linked more closely to the emissions of the vehicles in future. Depending on the CO2 emissions, a truck will then have to pay more for using European roads.

The decision must first be approved by the European Parliament and the countries. Once this is done, the countries have 2 years to adopt the regulation into national law.

When implementing the new truck toll, the countries may then decide for themselves how high the costs will be and whether, for example, buses should also be affected. However, there could also be exemptions from the toll in "justified cases" and for craftsmen, for example.

Similar to the environmental zones and their regulations, which are different in every country and cause discontent among many travellers, the individual implementation of the toll is likely to lead to a patchwork quilt. The countries can independently develop a combination of time- and distance-based charging systems. This is also likely to lead to despair among haulage companies and truck drivers.

The environmental umbrella organisation Transport & Environment (T&E), however, sees the European toll as a good option to reduce emissions from freight transport on the roads and to ensure more clean air.

Incidentally, the accounting of the current German truck toll is causing lawsuits in the meantime. The inclusion of traffic police costs in the toll was ruled illegal by the European Court of Justice last autumn. Now many companies want their money back. The Federal Office for Goods Transport (BAG) has already received 35,800 applications for reimbursement. So, after the car toll, Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer has now also slipped up with the HGV toll. This will probably cost Germany dearly.

We can only hope that the new government will be more competent in implementing the new HGV toll and that it will really be a success for the health of the citizens and the protection of the environment.