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According to the European Commission, Germany’s extension of the road-toll exemption for trucks running on LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) breaks EU law.

Clean transport should be promoted in a technologically neutral way,” said the European Commission spokesperson. “The European Commission therefore rejects Germany’s prolonged exemption from road tolls for trucks running on LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) and CNG (Compressed Natural Gas).”

According to Brussels, under the revised Eurovignette Directive, exceptions for freight transport such as the one introduced in Germany are not permitted, Dekra reports. EU regulations give Member States the opportunity to exempt emission-free vehicles from charges for a limited period of time, but, as the EC notes, LNG and CNG trucks are not zero-emissions vehicles.

If such an exemption is to be treated as part of the ongoing work on the revision of the Eurovignette Directive, gas trucks should therefore be treated on the basis of their actual emissions,” the spokesperson explained.

Thus, if such vehicles emit less exhaust gas than a diesel truck, a discount may be applied depending on the emissions.

As a reminder, the road-toll exemption for green gas vehicles has been in force since the beginning of 2019 and was due to expire at the end of this year. However, the German Government decided in May to extend this exemption until the end of 2023. In the meantime, many carriers have, in view of this relief, decided to purchase LNG or CNG vehicles or to install a gas system in their diesel trucks.

In addition, German businesses were offered subsidies for the purchase of LNG or CNG trucks. Meanwhile, the European Commission is calling on the German Ministry of Transport to eliminate the relief. As the business paper Handelsblatt explains, Brussels allows a maximum 50% discount for natural gas vehicles.

Photo credit @TollCollect

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