What is the truck for in traffic

The truck toll

The distance-based truck toll on German motorways was introduced on January 1, 2005 and has been further developed over the years through several legislative changes. These are important steps on the way to more sustainable mobility, and it is important to continue to pursue this path consistently in the future.

Why truck toll?

The load on the roads from a heavy truck with an axle load of 40 tons is around 60,000 times greater than from a car. Heavy trucks are therefore particularly costly for the construction, maintenance and operation of motorways. The Federal Government is therefore pursuing the goal of making the truck more involved in the financing of the infrastructure by charging these road costs according to the originator. Before the introduction of the truck toll, these funds came solely from taxes and, to a small extent, from the so-called Eurovignette. With the truck toll, user financing in the form of a route-based fee was created for the first time.

Toll design in detail

Partial toll rates for infrastructure costs and air pollution costs

The toll rates are set on the basis of comprehensive reports on the "road costs" calculated by scientific experts. The requirements of the Eurovignette Directive 1999/62 / EU must also be taken into account. Based on the road cost report for the years 2014 to 2017, the second law amending the Federal Trunk Road Toll Act (BFStrMG) lowered the partial toll rates for infrastructure use from January 1, 2015 due to the persistently low interest rate. At the same time, partial toll rates for the air pollution costs were introduced for the first time.

Since 2015, the toll has been made up of a share for the costs of air pollution (differentiated according to pollutant classes) and a share for the costs of infrastructure (differentiated according to the number of axles). The differentiation according to pollutant categories means that trucks with lower emissions have to pay lower toll rates. This creates clear and already effective incentives for the use of lower-emission trucks, with vehicles with particularly low pollutant emissions (S6 or Euro VI) even being exempt from air pollution costs.

As of January 1, 2018, the Eurovignette Directive also allows a low partial toll rate for the charging of air pollution costs for Euro VI vehicles. This has not yet been collected in Germany. External costs for noise pollution are also not collected in Germany, although this would be possible within the framework of the requirements of the Eurovignette Directive.

European requirements

The amount of the truck toll is based on an application of the user principle ("user pays"), as well as the polluter pays principle ("polluter pays"). The stipulations of the aforementioned Eurovignette Directive (Directive 1999/62 / EC of June 17, 1999), amended by Directive 2011/76 / EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of September 27, 2011, must be taken into account.

Further development of the truck toll

As part of the "Europe on the Move" mobility package, the EU Commission has presented a proposal for a revision of the Eurovignette Directive, with which the scope of the directive is to be extended to all vehicle categories. The proposal includes the following innovations:

  • Heavy commercial vehicles: In addition to trucks, buses and coaches heavier 3.5 tonnes gross vehicle weight are also to come under the scope of the directive in the future. From 2020 it should no longer be possible to exclude individual groups from the fee collection.
  • Light commercial vehicles: In the future, cars, vans and minibuses weighing up to 3.5 tons will also come under the scope of the directive. User fees can be introduced for these vehicles.
  • Time-dependent user fees (vignettes) are initially to be abolished for heavy commercial vehicles by December 31, 2023 and for light commercial vehicles by December 31, 2027. According to the key data, only a mileage-dependent toll collection for the vehicle groups mentioned is possible.
  • The inclusion of external air pollution costs and / or noise costs should continue to be possible, whereby the previous maximum values ​​should be replaced by directly applicable reference values. According to the EU Commission, this should simplify the collection of external costs. External costs should not be charged for SNSFs that meet the strictest EURO standard.
  • The differentiation of charges according to EURO emissions should be based on a differentiation according to CO2-Emissions values ​​are changed. This should be done within one year after the Commission has established the corresponding reference values ​​for CO2-Has issued emissions by means of a delegated act. Within a vehicle type, the highest fees may not exceed the fee for vehicles with the lowest CO2Emissions (non-emission-free vehicles). For emission-free vehicles, the infrastructure fee should be reduced by 75 percent compared to the maximum rate.
  • A congestion charge that applies to all vehicle classes and differentiates the charges according to location, time and vehicle class is to be made possible (Article 7 da).

The Commission proposal is currently being discussed in the EU bodies. It still does not provide for an EU-wide obligation to introduce these elements of user funding. In the event of an introduction, however, the requirements of the guideline are binding.

By collecting air pollution costs, the environmental policy goals of the federal government are supported by providing incentives for the use of less polluting trucks. However, road freight transport still does not have to bear its external costs, in particular the consequential costs for the climate. Switching the differentiation to CO2-Emissions is welcomed as a first important step towards energy efficiency. From an environmental point of view, it is important to directly charge a larger proportion of the real costs arising from truck traffic to this mode of transport and to further develop the truck toll accordingly.