Environmental Zones in Germany

August 27, 2019 in Destinations, Germany & Environmental Zones and Vignettes

Let’s be realistic for a moment- who doesn’t want to visit Germany? Many people across the globe flock to Germany annually to cross it off their bucket lists. Because of its vast size, there is much to see and do all over Germany, inspiring many travellers to explore the country by hitting the road. While this would be the best way to see what Germany has to offer, it is important to understand the rules and regulations when driving around the country to ensure your trip goes smoothly. In this case, we’ll be looking at the environmental zones, or green zones in Germany, areas which have set rules and regulations to reduce the negative environmental impact of driving.

Goboony Motorhome Camper H2 Forest

What are environmental zones? 

First, it is important to understand the importance of environmental zones, or low emission zones. Currently, there are 55 designated areas scattered across Germany, a map of which may be found on this website. The purpose of these zones is to limit the presence of exhaust pollutants, so as to protect nearby inhabitants of cities and municipalities. 

If you have previously travelled to Germany, you may have noticed that vehicles have German car stickers. This is because environmental zones in Germany are accessible only to certified cars that are marked with a green environmental badge. These cars have been cleared to meet the EURO 4 requirement or higher. Aside from purchasing a German car sticker, there are now low emission zone charges.While this may sound rather complicated, it is actually a simple process that will be explained in this blog! 

To better understand the regulations vehicles must follow, we should look at what the Euro emissions standard aims to regulate. It is their goal to reduce the following exhaust emissions: 

  • Nitrogen Oxide 

  • Carbon Monoxide

  • Hydrocarbons

  • Particle matter

Exhausts have been modified to follow and introduce new regulations throughout the previous years. The first EU- wide standard was the compulsory insertion of catalytic converters on new cars as of 1992. This became known as EURO 1, and the most recent one as of today is EURO 6. The table below as found on the RAC website will help you identify which of the Euro emissions standards your vehicle complies with:

Year car was newly registered from

Emissions standard

31/12/1992

EURO 1

1/1/1997

EURO 2

1/1/2001

EURO 3

1/1/2006

EURO 4

1/1/2011

EURO 5

1/1/2015

EURO 6

It is also worth noting that Germany has announced plans to introduce ‘blue zones’, designated areas which implement bans and regulations on diesel operated cars. This is because diesel operated cars have been shown to be responsible for increased nitrogen oxide production. Clearance for accessibility is indicated by the presence of a blue badge. Because this plan was only recently been announced, few cities have implemented bans, while others have announced or expect plans to introduce bans. A list of these cities may be found on the green zones website. 

Goboony Germany H2 German

How do the stickers work? 

The stickers follow a 3 category system, indicating how polluting the vehicle is, in accordance with European emissions standards. Remember, this applies to both cars and motorhomes!

A green badge indicates that the car is granted entry to environmental zones across Germany. These cars are EURO 4 or above. 

A yellow badge is assigned to older polluting vehicles, usually those with a diesel engine. These cars are NOT granted access to environmental zones. These vehicles are EURO 3. 

A red badge is similar to the red badge, usually indicating a greater pollution effect. However, as of 2019 these German emissions stickers are no longer valid. 

How do I receive a badge for my car? 

Although there are no low emission zone charges in Germany, you do need to buy a sticker. Luckily, you can easily purchase a sticker online at berline.de. You simply have to fill in your information, and a sticker will be sent to you, for roughly £11.00 (€12.00)! However it is worth noting that the process may take a few weeks, so be sure to apply in advance.

Getting a German emissions sticker is very important so that you can avoid hefty fines! If you drive a vehicle without a green badge in an environmental zone, you will be subject to pay a £73.00 (€80.00) fine, alongside additional charges for entering, stopping, or parking in an environmental zone. 

Goboony Germany H2 German

Additional tips: 

  • If you’re renting a vehicle in Germany, the badge should already be assigned to it. However, be sure to check that the correct German emissions sticker is placed on the vehicle- you may do so by contacting the provider.

  • Familiarise yourself with the driving rules and regulations in Germany before embarking on your trip!

  • Rules and regulations vary from one area to another. To easily navigate through different low emission zones and understand the rules and regulations prior to entering each zone download the Green Zone app! It is a free application that displays environmental zones in Germany and other countries, their rules, and the accessibility according to the vehicle you are driving.

  • If you’re feeling unsure about which of the European emissions standards your vehicle falls under, you can always find this on the registration document! Look at your registration document D2, and look at the following: Type → Variant → Version → emissions standard.

Goboony Motorhome Forest H2 Driving

Now that you’ve read this blog, you are ready to go! Be sure to plan your route ahead of time, and hit all the beautiful places Germany has to offer. The best way to enjoy your time as much as possible without the restriction of hotel reservations is to take your motorhome around the country. No motorhome? No problem! Goboony offers a wide selection of motorhomes that you can rent out in just a few clicks! You’ll be chasing your German sausages with a cold glass of beer before you know it!

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