Exhaust from an exhaust pipe: Is the effort for Euro 7 still worth it?
Photo: Alexander Rüsche / dpa
According to the automotive states of Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg and Lower Saxony, the federal government must not accept the EU Commission's plans for the Euro 7 emissions standard.
The three countries fear significant disadvantages for the German automotive industry if the law is implemented.
"It seems rather questionable to us whether a further tightening of standards due to other diffuse sources of immission will lead to a further significant improvement in air quality," says a letter from the three Prime Ministers to Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD), which is available to the German Press Agency.
Social benefits and economic costs must be in an appropriate relationship.
“A new emissions standard and the associated test conditions must also be technically and economically achievable.
Appropriate implementation deadlines are also required, which also take into account the development cycles of the automobile manufacturers," says the three-page letter from Markus Söder (CSU), Winfried Kretschmann (Greens) and Stephan Weil (SPD).
In November, the EU Commission presented its proposals for stricter emissions standards.
According to the Commission, road transport is the largest source of air pollution in cities.
It is estimated that particulate matter and nitrogen oxide pollution from road traffic caused around 70,000 premature deaths in 2018 in the EU countries and Great Britain.
Euro 7 is expected to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions from cars by an estimated 35 percent by 2035, and by more than 50 percent from buses and trucks.
"Irreversible path" to zero emissions
The European Parliament and EU states still have to approve the proposals.
Negotiations are currently underway.
In a next step, EU countries and Parliament must come to an agreement before the rules can come into force.
A number of things can therefore still change in the Commission's proposal.
The car manufacturers and their suppliers have already "taken the irreversible path towards zero-emission drives," it continues.
Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria and Lower Saxony are therefore of the opinion that the new emissions standard should not lead to "excessive funds having to be spent on optimizing a technology that is unlikely to be approved within the EU from 2035".
With a view to the competitiveness of companies and climate protection, the financial resources of the industry must flow much more urgently into the new, climate-friendly drives.
The states receive support from the FDP parliamentary group: »The limit values and measurement methods specified by the EU Commission are based on metropolises and are not suitable for guaranteeing mobility in non-city states and rural regions.
In addition, the ban on combustion engines through the back door would mean the premature end of thousands of jobs in Germany," said the group's spokeswoman for environmental and consumer protection, Judith Skudelny.
The environmental requirements for cars are already very high, and the air in the cities is becoming cleaner.
Euro 7 also relevant for electric cars
In particular, the prime ministers criticized the implementation deadlines of the new standard in their letter – July 2025 for passenger cars and light commercial vehicles and July 2027 for heavy commercial vehicles.
These are “too ambitious technologically”.
In addition, there is the danger that a legally secure registration of the vehicles will not be possible and that there will be a traffic jam at the registration authorities.
From the point of view of the auto states, the federal government must prevent the negative consequences for jobs, value creation and competitiveness in the negotiations at EU level.
There is a lot at stake for the three car countries.
With the Euro 7 standard, the EU Commission wants to ensure that vehicles become significantly cleaner under real driving conditions.
The EU proposal affects emissions from exhaust systems as well as from brakes and tires - so electric cars are also covered by the regulation.
Environmental organizations consider the regulations to be completely inadequate.
Despite Euro 7, combustion vehicles will continue to emit more air pollutants than the World Health Organization has recommended, says Greenpeace.