Based on the court action of this week.....there is a massive confrontation coming. The court has agreed for the moment that the Stuttgart can ban diesel cars within it's city limits. The ban, unless a higher court steps in....would start in January of 2018 (just six months from now).
Why the ban? The VW fraud with the diesel started people to go back and look at actual information (not the fake stuff). Particles added up, and in a high-traffic zone....it's enough to be hazardous for your health.
The solution to this? Political players have spent the last twelve months on this topic and their quiet-solution was a added feature to the muffler system to collect the particles. The science is there....it's just not advanced enough. What is generally said is that the device can be designed and built but the exact amount of filtering is in question....and the cost? 1,500 Euro is usually uttered....which leads to the topic of who would pay? The owner, the government, or the car-manufacture group? Most owners think it ought to be some deal where a tax credit is offered and the car company pays the rest. The car companies have zero interest in this topic.
Who could step up and stall this whole thing? Oddly, this is NOT the state of Baden-Wurttemberg or the German federal government. Either of these could step up as leaders and shape a policy to forbid cities the privilege of banning cars....neither have done so. You can't find anyone within the CDU or SPD who is active on the scene and trying to halt the ban.
Is this a lone-city episode? No. At least five additional cities (Frankfurt and Essen are among them) are working up the same ban, and their regional courts will likely be involved as well. On top of that....at least ten additional cities are in the talking stage of a ban on diesel cars.
If this gets all the way to January, without the Bundestag acting or some solution? Stuttgart is a fairly active city with business operations. You can assume at least a million cars a day will enter into the city or drive from it. Businessmen who come to swing a deal. Workers will drive 100 kilometers from their home to the office in the city. You can figure that roughly 40-percent of those cars will be diesel. If you can't enter the city....then what? No one from the city has shown any planning on public transportation. You'd have to create giant parking lots on the outskirts of the city that could park tens of thousands of cars, and a remarkable U-Bahn/S-Bahn system would have to accept double the number of passengers that it currently handles (which it can't). In other words, the destruction of civilization will have arrived in the midst of winter for Stuttgart.
Why this active position by the city? When you go back a decade ago....Stuttgart-21 was visualized, and the Green Party took the opposition to the railway and subway project. They hyped up the negatives, and took the city by storm. It shocked the public, and suddenly....you found that long-time SPD supporters dissolved and became Green Party members. The Green Party can count on 30-percent of the local vote in city election....the SPD much less so. A lot of the people affected by the potential diesel ban are NOT city residents, so they can't vote or send a message to the city leadership.
Why Merkel won't step in? It's anyone's guess. It's a massive and chaotic mess that is just laying there and bold leadership needs to step forward to use the filtering box concept....but you'd have to approve the box as the solution....then manufacture these....then allow at least six months for everyone to adapt to the box. You can figure that it'd be well toward the end of 2018 before this could all happen. Yet we haven't even crossed the point where people think this will be the best idea.
What happens in January with the ban in effect in Stuttgart? The belief is that the particles will rapidly go down, and in six to eight weeks....be a healthy limit. They have to allow diesel trucks and delivery vehicles to continue.....as well as buses. They also can have no affect on the autobahn system....so diesel vehicles will pass via the autobahns of the region.
Could the diesel owners send a message? If the owners could forge some alliance....a group of half-a-million diesel owners in the local region could say.....we won't buy anything within the city of Stuttgart.....no coffee....no pizza....no furniture....no groceries....no fuel....nothing, then you might see some reaction out of the city leadership. It'd be taken as a joke by the news media and political side. Around thirty to forty-five days into the non-buying trend....the merchants of the city would be begging for some relief.
For VW and the rest of the diesel car manufacturers? It's the end for diesel car engines in the country. You can figure that the general public is angry. Resale value on diesel cars is a joke.
The one solution that some might go to....is converting their diesel car over to LPG-gas. You can figure that it'll cost 2,000 Euro to 4,000 Euro....but it would give some relief.
In the end.....Germany needs true leadership to bring this to a successful close....and they lack that.