It is a compromise that is so typical of this coalition. Minister of the Environment Svenja Schulze and Olaf Scholz, her colleague Minister of Finance and SPD candidate for chancellor, had wanted more ambition in the field of climate policy in the reform of the motor vehicle tax. But the Social Democrats could not overcome the Union. The clientele of the motorist and the industry is firmly in their sights.
So what Black and Red decided in the Bundestag on Thursday is nothing more than cosmetics. The climate surcharge compared to the previous tax is so low that the majority of cars that emit between 116 and 175 grams of CO2 per kilometer pay only two to 23 euros more per year.
Even with the oversized Audi Q8 SUV, the tax increases by just under 42 euros, with the Porsche 911 by 100 euros. It dares not share the forecast of environmental associations and the Greens: buyers of such expensive cars are not deterred by such marginal tax increases – especially since many of these cars are still registered with the company.
On the other hand, the hitherto convinced SUV driver will not suddenly turn to the eco-car with CO2 emissions of less than 95 grams, just because the reform will save him around 30 euros per year in vehicle tax. It should make the Union think that even the ADAC is calling for a more determined change and is only talking about a “first step”.
The next could follow the 2021 federal election if the Greens are involved in the new government. You have already announced that you will then insist on a noticeable registration tax. Not only non-governmental organizations with an environmental profile are in favor of such a tax, but also the bourgeois Leopoldina, the National Academy of Sciences.
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All these experts have come to the conclusion that a substantial tax at first registration is significantly more effective than the timid bonus-malus scheme within the motor vehicle tax. 24 of the 30 European countries (EU plus Great Britain, Norway and Switzerland) levy registration tax. Germany is therefore in the minority and shares the last places in terms of CO2 emissions from new cars with Bulgaria, Lithuania, Estonia and Switzerland, among others, which also do without this control instrument.
The European comparison shows: In countries with a registration tax based on CO2 emissions, new vehicles are significantly more climate-friendly. If you look at the individual countries, you see that the more decisive the state is with the tax, the stronger the effect. Especially now that the EU has rightly raised its climate targets significantly, the coalition’s alibi policy is less in line with the times than ever. And the ailing auto industry won’t get any healthier if it sticks to technology that has no future.