Germany may hike tax on dirty cars

DDP/The Local
DDP/The Local - [email protected] • 24 Apr, 2008 Updated Thu 24 Apr 2008 11:34 CEST
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Drivers of cars with high carbon dioxide emissions are likely to see their annual licensing fees rise again under a new German Finance Ministry plan, according to a report on Thursday in Bild newspaper.

Citing confidential Finance Ministry documents, Bild said the proposal could affect about 16 million German drivers, especially owners of older vehicles in the emissions standard categories of Euro-2 and Euro-3.

Higher car taxes for vehicles with high emissions would help balance out revenue lost under a government plan to reduce or eliminate the fee for vehicles with especially low emissions. The newspaper reported that officials want to ensure that €9 million ($14 million) in annual car tax revenue to Germany's federal states remains the same.

Under the new proposal a driver with a VW Passat Diesel would see an annual fee increase from €308 ($485) to €395 ($621). A Ford C-Max driver would pay €192 ($302) instead of €82 ($129). The fee for a diesel Open Corsa would remain about the same at €206 ($324).

Bild attributed the plans to Finance Minister Peer Steinbrück, a member of the centre-left Social Democrat Party, and said it is likely to start a fight in Germany's ruling coalition of Social Democrats and conservative Christian Democrats (CDU).

"This cannot become a penalty tax for simple people who can't just go out and buy a new car tomorrow," Erwin Huber, chief of the CDU's Bavarian sister party, the Christian Socialist Union, told the newspaper. "No one drives an old car for fun. You do it because you can't afford a new one with low emissions."

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