Truck Toll Regulations

Day in, day out, trucks in their hundreds of thousands drive along the motorways of Germany. Vehicles with a Euro II or Euro III emissions classification and without diesel particulate filter are responsible for the lion's share of the particulate emissions from this huge volume of traffic. On 1 January 2009, changes to the Toll Rate Regulations (MautHV) have left the operators of these HGVs with higher out-of-pocket costs for using the country's tolled-motorway network. Low-emission trucks and trucks fitted with a diesel particulate filter system pay considerably lower tolls than their counterparts at the high end of the emissions-output scale.

By the same token, and irrespective of their Euro I, II or III classification, all retrofitted trucks qualify for the green LEZ sticker and unrestricted access to low emission zones in cities anywhere in Europe. A truck fitted with a particulate filter, needless to say, will also fetch a much higher price when sold on.

Why were the changes made and how much higher are the tolls?

  • Germany's federal government uses what it calls the ecological toll spread – the pronounced grading of toll charges in line with emission classes – to encourage the introduction of eco-friendly, low-emission goods vehicles.
  • The new toll charges mean that low-emission trucks and trucks fitted with a diesel particulate filter system pay significantly lower tolls than their high-emission counterparts.
  • Closed-loop diesel particulate filter systems can reduce emissions to a level close to zero. In future, therefore, vehicles fitted with particulate filters of suitable design will still be classed in a low-toll category.

How high are the tolls now?

  • Since 1 January 2009, the toll for trucks using the German motorways has averaged at 16.3 eurocents per kilometre, up from 15 cents. Distance travelled, number of axles and emissions class are all factored into the tolls levied on the trucks using the motorway system.
  • Taking a four-axle truck by way of example, tolls are levied in the range from 15.5 to 28.8 eurocents per kilometre, and it is the emissions class that makes the difference.
  • The new tolls were about €1bn more into the state coffers in 2009. These revenues were used to expand the transport infrastructure, with most of the money channelled into work on the major roads.

What effect is the new toll-charge structure likely to have on haulage companies and freight forwarders?

  • The bottom line is: operators who can put low-emissions vehicles on the road stand to benefit most from lower tolls. There is no necessity for going to the lengths of investing in new Euro V or VI or EEV standard vehicles in order to step down to a lower toll category.
  • Retrofitting the existing fleet with diesel particulate filters will have the desired effect. As of January 2009, savings on tolls earned by retrofitting to upgrade Euro II trucks tally at 8.4 eurocents per kilometre and the corresponding figure for Euro III trucks is 2.1 eurocents per km.
  • On account of the lower toll charges, it takes about just two years until ROI on the outlay for retrofitting.
  • Example: the cost of retrofitting the HJS 100% filter system to upgrade a truck from toll category II to category III is about €6,000. The truck covers 150,000 kilometres on toll roads, so total savings add up to €6,600.

Emissions-graded toll charges (revised and valid from 1 January 2009 onward)

Emission class

Toll category

EURO III
C

EURO II
D

Retrofitted with

HJS 100% particulate filter

Toll category after retrofitted

B

C

Toll savings

Savings per km
after 100.000 km
after 150.000 km

2,1 Ct
2.100 €
3.150 €

8,4 Ct
8.400 €
12.600 €

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