Germany to favour cleaner motorcycles

Government to introduce tax differential in advance of EU emissions directive; lobbying for tougher laws

The German government plans to link motorcycle road tax to emissions from next year, favouring motorcycles which meet tough EU standards proposed by the European Commission in June.

The draft EU motorcycle emissions directive is designed to cut carbon monoxide (CO), hydrocarbons (HC) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions thereby acting as a tool for member states' compliance with 2010 targets for ambient air quality and national emissions ceilings. Without new standards, motorcycle emissions are expected to rise. For instance, HC emissions from motorcycles are forecast to rise to 13.7% of total vehicle HC emissions in the EU by 2010 and 20% by 2020 under current standards.

The directive would apply to all new models from 2003, and all new motorcycles from 2004. Tougher limits are foreseen for 2006. The 2003/2004 limits would require 60% reductions in CO and HC emissions for four-stroke engined models and 70% for HC and 30% for CO from two-stroke models. NOx limits for two-stroke motorcycles would be relaxed slightly to bring them into line with four-strokes.

Germany, which has seen a doubling in motorcycle registrations in the last ten years, has been lobbying the EU to introduce more stringent exhaust and noise emissions laws (ENDS Daily 4 October) arguing that technology which has been applied to reduce pollutants from cars should also be required for motorcycles.

The draft EU directive, like previous vehicle emission directives, includes provisions allowing member states to introduce fiscal incentives which go beyond proposed standards.

Follow Up:
European Commission, tel: +32 2 299 1111; German environment ministry, tel: +49 30 28 55 00, and press release. See also the draft EU directive full text.

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