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Scrappage premium for trucks does not help the environment

He wanted to be so climate-friendly: But the bonus that Federal Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer promised and paid out for the purchase of a new truck has no real positive effect on the climate. Critics complain that this money could have been better invested in climate protection.

The plan: old heavy-duty trucks with a gross vehicle weight of more than 7.5 tonnes were to be replaced by newer models that burn less climate-damaging substances during propulsion. In concrete terms, this means phasing out all trucks with a Euro class of 5 or less. Anyone who wanted to modernise their truck fleet could thus count on a premium of €15,000 per vehicle. But while the cleaner diesel vehicles pollute the air less than their predecessors, Euroclass VI has been mandatory for new vehicles since 2014. Owners of vehicle fleets therefore mainly replaced vehicles that would soon have to be replaced anyway.

Grants would have been available for other types of drive, but for trucks over 7.5 tonnes there are simply no electrically driven models yet. Daimler does not plan to mass-produce the first model with electric drive until autumn. A total of just under 63 million in subsidies has already been paid. By 1 July of this year, 4748 trucks had been subsidised, but these vehicles all run on diesel - in addition to 192 subsidised gas-powered vehicles. Scheuer's ministry counters: All these new trucks run on tyres with little abrasion, which is responsible for much of the pollution, especially in the case of the more climate-friendly electric cars.

The Greens see the project as a promotion not of climate protection but of the truck industry, which is why Minister Scheuer is accused of pursuing clientelism. Although there are more clean trucks on the road, they are still powered by fossil fuels. That is precisely the criticism: instead of investing in technologies that really have a promising future, old combustion engines are being supported again. In view of the EU's demand to reduce pollutant emissions from new cars by a third by 2030, this is certainly not unjustified criticism. Added to this is the German government's plan to increase the share of electric vehicles by a third by 2030. Achieving these goals will certainly require larger-scale projects than simply replacing one combustion engine with another.