20 May 2019, 13:30
Benjamin Wehrmann

Economists call for city-toll instead of diesel driving bans in Germany

Clean Energy Wire

A group of 30 economists from Germany have called for the introduction of a city-toll for private cars to get a grip on transport emissions and growing traffic volumes in inner cities. In the joint plea initiated by research institutes RWI and Leibniz Institut, the economists say a road toll would be “an economically and ecologically sound response to a wide range of challenges," such as greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution, congestion and lacking parking spaces. “At the same time, nobody who relies on their car would be banned from entering the cities,” the economists say in a position paper. The revenues generated with a city-toll could then be used to improve public transport services, cycling infrastructure and “social tickets” to support less affluent citizens in using cleaner transport options. The economists suggest initiating trials in selected cities and let citizens participate in the exact design of possible city-toll schemes.

Bringing down emissions in transport is regarded as one of the most pressing challenges in Germany’s climate policy, as these have remained practically unchanged or even increased compared to 1990 levels. Moreover, a ruling by the country’s administrative court that obliges cities to introduce diesel driving bans due to high nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by diesel vehicles and resulting excessive air pollution, have triggered a harsh controversy in the country over the future of inner-city mobility in general.

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