The German Bundestag last week amended federal highway toll law to exempt lorries powered by natural gas from tolls from 1 January 2019 for a period of two years. The change will help to address the country’s growing CO2 emissions from the transport sector, at the same time providing a stimulus for the natural gas vehicle sector.
Prof. Dr. Ing. Gerald Linke, CEO of DVGW (German Technical and Scientific Association for Gas and Water) commented that with the decision by the Bundestag “… the way is finally clear for the long overdue traffic turnaround in heavy-duty mobility. By eliminating the toll, climate-friendly gas trucks can save up to 18.7 cents per kilometer driven, depending on the weight category. The chances for a market breakthrough are thus better than ever before”.
Welcoming the resolution Pierre Lahutte, IVECO Brand President concurs: “The German Parliament’s approval of the motorway toll exemption for CNG and LNG trucks complements the subsidies already announced in July to support the purchase of these vehicles. Germany is at the crossroads of European logistics, so these decisive moves by the country’s authorities will dramatically accelerate the penetration of alternative natural gas powertrains across the continent.”
From 2021 onwards, the exemption will still be applied for the pollution component, but not for the infrastructure and noise components. This exemption, together with the subsidies on the purchase of natural gas vehicles announced in July (€12,000 for LNG and €8,000 for CNG vehicles), further increases the financial benefits of these sustainable trucks for German logistics operators, with savings ranging from 9.3 to 18.7 Euro cents per kilometer depending on the weight category.
IVECO, a brand of CNH Industrial N.V., says the resolution confirms its long-held vision for sustainable transport using natural gas. The company, which has been at the forefront in the development of this technology for a period of more than 20 years, today leads the way with a complete range of CNG and LNG vehicles ranging from the Daily NP light commercial vehicle to its long-haul truck, the Stralis NP boasting an autonomy of up to 1,600 km. LNG and CNG trucks are capable of meeting the specific requirements of virtually all sectors – from freight forwarders to logistics companies operating on routes of all distances. These vehicles deliver the full environmental benefits of natural gas, generating 90% less NO2, 99% less Particulate Matter and, with biomethane, 95% less CO2 than their diesel equivalents.
Prof. Linke says that not only the freight forwarders will benefit from the new regulations, but above all the environment: “CO2 emissions in the transport sector continued to increase last year, reaching more than 170 million tonnes in 2017. This corresponds to almost a quarter of the total CO2 emissions in Germany. The biggest increase was recorded by heavy goods traffic. This is mainly due to the more than 2.7 million diesel trucks on German roads, which account for over 95 percent of all heavy commercial vehicles.
“Climate-friendly gas drives can now fully exploit their environmental benefits. Gas trucks emit up to 90 percent less particulate matter and up to 80 percent less nitrogen oxide than diesel. In addition, CO2 emissions will be reduced by almost 25 percent. The noise pollution is reduced by half. The decision of the Bundestag is therefore a strong signal for a sustainable change in traffic – in favour of the environment and for the protection of people living on busy streets”, he concludes.
eurotransporte.de reports that according to the Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA), 339 natural gas trucks are currently on the road in Germany.