According to Andreas Scheuer, there will soon be a nationwide car toll in Europe. This provides for a new EU toll directive. Now, however, the Ministry of the Environment has immediately crushed the plans.
Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer wants to pave the way for an almost nationwide car toll in Germany and Europe with the German EU Council Presidency. By 2029, almost all vehicles, from trucks to vans to cars, should pay fees on highways, according to the draft for the EU Toll Directive that Reuters had on Wednesday.
In future, “in principle, all vehicles that drive on the motorway (including cars, but not motorcycles or buses) should pay fees,” says Scheuer’s cover letter to his cabinet colleagues in the federal government. According to the government circles, these should agree later in the day and thus make it the German concept of the EU Council Presidency.
Plans immediately shattered
The Minister of Transport’s plan didn’t work. The Federal Environment Ministry wants to block Scheuer’s plans. The plan surprised the Ministry of Environment, a spokesman said in Berlin on Wednesday. “In our view, that doesn’t make any sense at all.”
The way of CO2 pricing in the transport sector should be chosen for climate protection. This would affect not only highways, but all roads. One does not want a double burden from CO2 price and toll.
SPD wanted to stop projects
Government officials also told Reuters that several departments initially wanted to stop the project. It is particularly tricky for SPD-led departments: The SPD had always viewed the car toll extremely critically and, after the failure of the German concept at the European Court of Justice (ECJ), refused a new attempt. On the other hand, a route-related toll is also considered a climate protection instrument.
Scheuer is obviously aware of the explosiveness of the text within his own government: “Since it deviates in some points from the previous German position, I need your approval for this”, says the cover letter. Even if Scheuer’s draft was essentially approved by the other ministries, resistance can be expected from a number of other EU countries.
A transitional period is also included in the draft: the car toll should apply “within eight years” of the directive’s entry into force. Since this should be decided this year or at the beginning of next year at the latest, the car toll would have to come by 2029. Another condition is said to be that states have put in place a “road toll system”.
This also includes a truck toll like in Germany. Most countries already have such a model, others like the Netherlands are planning to introduce a truck toll in the next few years. Smaller island states such as Malta or Cyprus could be without tolls.
Reduced toll for climate-neutral drives
The core of the toll directive primarily provides for new regulations for trucks. They are intended to replace the previous Euro standards. For the first time, CO2 emissions should become a significant factor here. According to the draft, a currently modern Euro VI truck with a weight of 40 tons can be loaded with an additional 8 cents per kilometer to 26.7 cents. This should come into effect from 2023. This system is based on a proposal from the Croatian Presidency, which, however, was unable to achieve consensus in the EU with the directive.
Scheuer modifies them in some places: For example, hybrid trucks and cars that can run on electricity, petrol or diesel should only pay a significantly reduced toll for demonstrably emission-free routes. Scheuer, on the other hand, has opened a toll for vans between 3.5 and 7.5 tonnes, which has long been viewed critically by the CSU with reference to craftsmen. However, there should be exceptions here.