German automakers criticised for high emission ratings

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Just because you’re a large automotive company, it doesn’t mean you can’t still get scolded like a young schoolboy, even if this time it’s not the teacher doing the nagging, but the national environment agency. 

Mercedes-Benz along with the other major German car manufacturers – Audi, BMW and Volkswagen – are accused of producing too many powerful vehicles which generate large quantities of CO2 and other greenhouse gases.

The German national environment agency says the transport sector needs to put more effort into combating climate change, an action not reflected by the increasing number of heavy and powerful cars. The agency is also pointing a finger at the ever higher number of lorries on the roads and the lack of reglementation regarding freight transport.

Transport, which accounts for almost a fifth of Germany’s overall greenhouse emissions, is the only sector that has not managed to reduce its emissions compared to 1990, the UBA agency said.

“Because more and more freight is being transported by road and the trend is going towards heavier cars with more horsepower, more economical engines have served little purpose for climate protection,” said UBA president Maria Krautzberger.

The number of goods transported on the roads has risen by almost a third between 2000 and 2013, and so the agency calls for a larger scale usage of rail and water means of transportation as a way to reduce greenhouse emissions.

Realizing things are not going to happen unless drastic measures are taken, the agency is thinking about a higher road toll for lorries weighing more than 3.5 tonnes and also tougher CO2 emissions limits for lorries of all kind. As one of the major truck brands in Europe, Mercedes-Benz will surely be affected by whatever measures will end up being taken.

The German economy is currently the largest in all Europe and in order to stay like that, it’s clear things have to keep moving. However, according to a climate program agreed upon last December, the transport sector has to cut down CO2 emissions by ten million tonnes by 2020, and that’s not something to trifle with. What will the actual solutions be, we’ll just have to wait and see.