Nowhere is safe for diesel. Stuttgart, home of two massive automakers that produce diesel vehicles, has announced that any diesels that don’t meet Euro 5 standards will be banned from city streets in 2019.
Euro 5 is the set of emissions standards that went into effect in 2009, so pretty much all diesels made before that will be affected. While some cities have announced diesel restrictions for certain roads and areas and others have scheduled years-out bans, this is most wide-ranging and immediate ban we’ve seen.
The move is a result of a court order directing the state in which Stuttgart resides to deliver a plan on when it will ban Euro 5 diesels, Automotive News reports:
A regional court in Stuttgart had demanded last month the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, home to carmakers Mercedes-Benz and VW unit Porsche, draw up a firm plan for when it will ban Euro 5 diesels.
The hope is that banning Euro 4 and older diesels will help the city avoid having to ban cars that don’t meet the current Euro 6 standards, which took effect in 2014.
“We want to avoid bans on Euro 5 diesels with a comprehensive package of clean air measures,” Andreas Schwarz, leader of the Greens’ parliamentary group in the Baden-Wuerttemberg regional assembly, told Automotive News.
The city of Stuttgart is perennially smog-choked, so perhaps it’s no surprise that we’re seeing a widespread ban here before elsewhere. But with Mercedes and Stuttgart in the city, you’d imagine they’d be fighting hard against environmental regulations.
While banning old cars sounds like a good way to spur new car sales, there’s been talk of forcing automakers to retrofit old cars with emissions equipment that allows them to meet the new Euro 6 standards. Naturally, that’s a nightmare scenario for German automakers in that it discourages new car purchases and would require development resources from the companies.
This ban, though, makes clear that the auto industry doesn’t have as much lobbying power as they’d need to stop the tide of anti-diesel sentiment. It’s relatively unavoidable at this point that European governments will start banning the type of car they so actively encouraged years ago.
If you’re a diesel owner in a European city that hasn’t announced a ban yet, I’d probably sell your car before the market plummets.