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Hamburg will soon be the first German city to ban older diesels

A German court ruled in February that individual cities could impose the bans on polluting vehicles.

German traffic
Though Hamburg is not yet enforcing the ban, 100 signs have gone up warning drivers.
Juergen Stumpe/Getty

In just the latest bit of bad news for diesel fans, Hamburg is now taking steps to be the first city in Germany to enact a ban on older, more heavily polluting diesel cars. Reuters reports that city officials put up 100 signs that prohibit diesels from certain roads in the city – though for now, the ban hasn't gone into effect and the signs are just a preparatory step.

The ban will initially only affect a small part of Hamburg. Germany's Handselblatt says it will cover just over a third of a mile of the Max-Brauer-Allee, and about a mile of Stresemannstrasse.

City officials plan to ban diesels that don't meet the Euro 5 emissions standards from those two streets, with the signs suggesting detour routes for drivers. According to Reuters, Hamburg wants to know whether the government will also allow it to prohibit diesel vehicles that meet the newer Euro 6 regulations, too. The goal: to improve air quality in congested parts of the city.

In a bid to battle high nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions, German courts ruled in February that cities would be allowed to prohibit certain diesel vehicles. The move comes in the shadow of Volkswagen's diesel emissions scandal, but also has support in other major cities. Paris, Athens, and Mexico City banded together to ban diesels from city centers by 2025, while Rome plans to do so by 2024. Meanwhile France and the UK have said they will ban the sale of new diesel and gasoline cars by 2040. In other words, the future of diesel in Europe seems grimmer than ever.