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German courts weighs potential diesel bans for city centers

The German court at Leipzig has agreed to hand down a ruling on Feb. 27 on whether Stuttgart and Duesseldorf’s diesel bans are legal.

Stuttgart Calls Out Pollution Alarm
STUTTGART, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 15: A sign warns of high levels of particulates, a form of pollutants, on the day the city announced a pollution alarm on November 15, 2017 in Stuttgart, Germany. The city is encouraging residents to use public transport rather than cars and is temporarily banning the use of non-essential home fireplaces. Stuttgart, which sits nestled in a valley surrounded by hills, struggles with pollution in winter months. The city calls out the alarm days when weather forecasts predict conditions that will concentrate particulates and other fine particles in the atmosphere of the city. Diesel engines are a major source of particulates.
Thomas Niedermueller/Getty Images

Diesel just can't catch a break, or so it would seem. The courts in Leipzig, Germany are set to make a ruling on Feb. 27 on whether or not to uphold a ban on diesel vehicles imposed by the cities of Stuttgart and Duesseldorf, according to Reuters.

This ban could have a hugely detrimental effect on the resale value of many of the diesel vehicles currently registered in those areas. The question of whether the manufacturers would be responsible for updating the vehicles is also essential, as environmental groups are calling for even the exhaust treatment systems on Euro-6 vehicles to be upgraded further at a potential cost of over $17 billion.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has a lot to lose if diesel bans are upheld in German urban centers.

Wikimedia Commons

These rulings would also put the German government into a tight spot, as Chancellor Angela Merkel has already been criticized for her close ties to the automotive industry and her strong support of diesel as a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality.

Germany is only the most recent major player to talk about banning diesel vehicles in its city centers. Mexico City, Paris and Madrid have considered implementing a ban by 2025, while Copenhagen may ban new diesel vehicles as early as 2019.

If the bans are upheld and expanded to other urban centers in Germany, it will serve as a huge wake-up call to the auto industry at large, which has been scrambling to pivot to hybrid and electric vehicles since Dieselgate broke in 2015.