Driving For Members

What you need to know about changes to German driving laws in 2021

The Local Germany
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What you need to know about changes to German driving laws in 2021
The quiet Autobahn during the festive holidays in Lower Saxony. Photo: DPA

From the increasing cost of fuel to tax changes, here's what road users in Germany should know about 2021.


Rise in fuel prices

From January 1st 2021, the price of oil and diesel will rise by 7.9 cents per litre in Germany. The situation is similar for petrol: the price is to go up by seven cents per litre.

Emissions tax hike for gas-guzzling cars

If you own a car in Germany, you'll have to be aware that tax is changing.

An emissions tax hike will be introduced on January 1st which will double vehicle tax on new cars that have a C02 emission level of more than 195 grams per kilometre.

However, cars that are efficient and emit below 95 grams of CO2 per kilometre will pay less tax in future.

The aim is to encourage people to buy climate friendly cars.

The amount of the vehicle tax, paid in yearly installments by vehicle owners, depends on the size of the engine capacity and the CO2 emissions (and therefore fuel consumption) of the vehicle.


It's due to an amendment of the Motor Vehicle Tax Act which is the German Parliament or Bundestag passed in September 2020 aimed at improving the environment.

Photo: DPA

More money for commuters

There are changes to the commuter allowance (die Pendlerpauschale), which is treated as a part of your work related expenses that you can subtract from your end of the year income statement. From January 1st 2021, the allowance will increase to 35 cents from 21 kilometres. In 2024, this is to be increased again, to 38 cents.

Electric vehicles exempt from tax for even longer

There is already a tax exemption for owners of electric vehicles in Germany. And now it has been extended. It means owners of purely electric or fuel-cell vehicles (not hybrid models) are now exempt from paying vehicle tax until December 31st 2030.

Practical driving test to be longer

If you're learning to drive in Germany then you should get ready for this change: the practical driving test is to be carried out differently from next year.

The changes mean that the test will last 10 minutes longer and there will be an extended list of tasks to complete.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about getting a German driving licence


Further changes in 2021

From an increase in the minimum wage to the end of the Solidaritätszuschlag or the 'Soli' (the charge brought in after reunification to help rebuild the east), there are lots of changes for residents in Germany to look out for next year, which the Local is reporting on for you.

READ MORE: Everything that changes in Germany in 2021



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