Critics blast German parliament's approval of toll-free transport for LNG-powered trucks
Despite loud protests from Germany’s railway sector, the country’s federal parliament, or Bundestag, last week approved a resolution to allow heavy transport trucks that run on natural gas rather than diesel to continue driving on motorways and federal highways free of tolls until 2023, Focus Online reports. The decision to extend the financial incentive is intended to help transport companies convert their truck fleets to more climate-friendly drives. However, the move is highly controversial as experts have said that liquified natural gas (LNG) is not an ecological alternative to diesel. Representatives of the rail freight transport sector, which is already struggling, see the decision as further neglect of the industry as it competes with road transport.
The Öko-Institut, a sustainable development research group and consultancy, said in a press release that liquid natural gas was “not an option for climate protection”, pointing out that the majority of trucks that run on liquefied natural gas emit about the same amount of greenhouse gases as diesel trucks. Citing a recent study it conducted with the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), the institute pointed out that methane, a greenhouse gas that has a much stronger effect on the climate than CO2, escapes not only when natural gas is burned but also during refuelling and during the production of LNG.