Germany puts higher vehicle tax on new gas guzzlers

Motor vehicle tax will increase for new cars with high fuel consumption from 2021. On Friday in Berlin, the Federal Cabinet launched an amendment to the law for more climate protection, which should encourage citizens to buy more economical cars.

Already registered cars are not affected. For typical small cars and family cars, not much changes according to the plans of Finance Minister Olaf Scholz (SPD); the situation is different for large and heavy SUVs. The automotive industry sees this as a “fair compromise”. By contrast, environmentalists believe that little will change.

The tightened climate component planned by the federal government takes effect from 96 grams of CO2 emitted per kilometer. Currently it increases from 116 grams per kilometer. This makes the tax more expensive, especially for newly registered SUVs or sports cars.

Now it’s the turn of the Bundestag (German federal parliament) – changes are likely. “In the parliamentary procedure, we will check whether one has to readjust at one point or another,” said SPD faction vice-president Sören Bartol of the German Press Agency.

Everyone involved would be very interested in implementing the new regulation quickly. “We definitely want to avoid potential customers’ reluctance to buy due to a lack of planning security.” CSU regional group leader Alexander Dobrindt said that they wanted to “create a strong incentive for environmentally friendly mobility”.

Criticism from environmentalists

Environmentalists criticized the federal government’s bill. “With regard to the space consumption and CO2 emissions of the large SUV and limousines, the vehicle tax is still far too low even after the planned increase,” said BUND traffic expert Jens Hilgenberg of dpa.

The tax must not only be spread more, but also based on real CO2 emissions instead of the “official, but often unrealistic information” on consumption. Already the purchase of gas guzzlers must be made more expensive. Anton Hofreiter, leader of the Green Group, sees things similarly, who spoke of a “small change” and accused the coalition of symbolic politics.

The Association of the Automotive Industry welcomed the cabinet decision. It was a “fair compromise that required concessions from everyone involved and increased the steering effect of vehicle tax,” the association said. In perspective, it could make sense to replace the “outdated” displacement component of the tax by taking into account pollutant emissions such as nitrogen oxides and soot particles, the VDA further suggested. “In addition to the pure CO2 consideration, this would also be an incentive to purchase new vehicles with low pollutant values.”

The FDP, on the other hand, sharply criticized the plans of the black-red coalition: “A motor vehicle tax increase in the middle of the economic crisis is insane and counterproductive,” said traffic politician Oliver Luksic of dpa. The coalition is thus exacerbating the problems facing the automotive industry. “For employees and car owners alike, this is another low blow at the wrong time.”

Author: Nabeel K

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