Germany‘s boost for natural gas operators

2 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineMay 11, 2020

The German Parliamentary Traffic Committee has put forward a new proposal for discussion in Parliament to extend the motorway toll exemption for natural gas heavy-duty trucks. The exemption was first introduced on 1 January 2019 and is set to run until the end of 2020.

The German Parliament and Federal Council is expected to extend the exemption of natural gas vehicles above 7.5 tonnes from motorway tolls (MAUT) to 31 December 2023. The final decision is expected in June.

The exemption means trucks travelling on routes crossing Germany not only have the financial benefit of the toll exemptions, but also the operational advantage of a well-developed infrastructure, which will be further extended in the short term as a result of the German Federal Government‘s focus on natural gas as a key element of its strategy to achieve its climate targets.

Beyond German borders, a further signal in favour of Europe‘s adoption of natural gas technology can be seen in Austria, which has introduced an exemption from the sectoral driving ban in the Tyrol for LNG trucks. A change to taxation rules on natural gas also came into force on 1 January 2020, which now classifies LNG as a gas instead, and therefore means it is no longer subject to fossil fuel tax.

Europe‘s natural gas distribution network currently covers the continent‘s main transport routes. The network‘s development is gathering pace, with the number of LNG refuelling stations expected to rise from 249 in 2019 to over 450 in 2022.