Tuesday, February 27, 2018

General Questions over the Diesel Ban

You see a lot of commentary by individual Germans this afternoon over the German high court issuing their directive that both Stuttgart and Dusseldorf may ban diesel cars by the late summer....with minor provisions worked into the directive.

Some questions and answers:

Can tourist from any other country enter either Stuttgart or Dusseldorf with a diesel car after the ban starts?  No. They would be subject to some enforcement or fine.

Will there be fines assessed? So far, no one says yes or no, but you'd expect to expect some type of city fine.  The amount?  I would assume more than 100 Euro.

Will diesel tractors, buses, trucks or delivery vehicles be forbidden?  So far, no.

Do either city have public transportation built along the autobahn where one could park and transit into the city?  Both have some P&R situations....nothing large enough to really accomodate what is expected.

What will the general effect be on people with diesel cars shopping within Stuttgart and Dusseldorf?  So far, no business analysis effort has been conducted.  One could imagine some spending to be lost within the city limits, and some business operations will suffer.

Will there be some rush by Berlin to fix this situation?  They haven't shown any real behavior to resolve this, and one would doubt an emerging fix to occur by the time this starts up.

Politically, could this hamper the political parties running both cities?  Stuttgart has a lot of Green representation now on the city council and it will be a problem if this turns into a mess.  For Dusseldorf, it's a SPD-Greens situation that runs the city government.  If they were to really screw this up and trigger public frustration, it would hurt public confidence.  If everyone runs perfect and no issues....they will claim all the credit.

Will there be a possible toll deal, to allow diesel cars to enter?  Some people suggest this, but no one can explain the logic of allowing them to still pollute while contributing 'blood-money' to the city council.

Is it possible that some avenues into the two cities might be allowed to continue with diesel cars?  I've read several folks commenting that main roads might allow entry into a outer-ring of the city....going past the city-limits and having some bus network pick these folks up for transit into the city itself.  I think it's possible to patch something like this together in three months, and make it work. 

What if the particle samples collected six months after the ban starts....show no decline?  I read this comment via one single German, and he suggests that no one really can speculate about the achievement of the diesel cars being banned, and if there might be another 'trigger' or cause.  The idea of buses and delivery trucks being the chief culprit?  No one can prove that.  In theory, the particle problem should show a weekly drop as the ban starts and be completely successful in less than 90 days.  I would expect that samples will show a downward trend. 

Could a guy resolve his diesel car problem by getting a kit and turning the diesel car into a natural gas car?  Well....yeah.  Over the past year, several German folks have noted this technology exists, but few individuals ever buy the kit (figure at least 3,000 Euro for the kit and installation).  You would have to have the vehicle inspected by TUV, and identified in the system as a natural gas vehicle.  My view is if this was reasonably new (say only three years old)....it's probably worth the effort as long as you intend to keep the car for another six to ten years.  Would I do it?  If this were a 35,000 Euro car that I bought and I felt passionate about it....yeah.

Will this spread out from the two cities noted, and be taken as a topic by fifty-odd cities within the next two years?  Most folks think yes.  Course, if these two really screw this up and it's a big mess by the 2nd month of the ban.....it'll stop all discussions and everyone will go back into a huddle to discuss how to fix this without a ban.

Would it be easier to add the filter device to all diesel vehicles?  So far, this technology idea is not in a production stage, and tests are still being conducted.  The cost being tossed around is a minimum of 1,300 Euro.....on up to 2,500.  Who would pay?  Most people think the companies should pay.  The companies say....NO.  The best guess is that the diesel fuel tax will rise 20-cents....equaling the gas tax, and the government would pay the cost of the filter installation....taking the 'profit' from the tax increase.  Will the filter hurt the fuel economy?  Experts suggest yes.  Will it possibly cause some issues to the engines?  Largely speculation, and no one is really sure.  How many kits are required?  If the standard is Euro-6, then maybe around eight-to-ten million kits.

Could the cities pinpoint this to diesel cars being able to enter with the Euro-6 standard (the newer vehicles) and deny entry to the Euro-5 or Euro-4 diesel car standard? That's been suggested by a number of people.  Each has a different decal.   One city could say yes....the other no.  The fact that the Berlin folks refused to suggest this.....leaves one to wonder about the consequences of differing rules. 

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