Germany has around 70 cities that are a part of the Low Emission Zone scheme, which is aimed at reducing air pollution, usually caused by the emission of nitrogen dioxide and other such fine particles.
Hence travelling to these parts of the country will require you to register. Read on to learn how to travel in a foreign vehicle in these areas.
How To Enter Low Emission Zones In Germany
As of 2021, 70 cities in Germany are a part of the low-emission zone scheme. These cities have 58 low commission zones, also called umweltzone, in Germany. You may find most of these zones in the states of Nordrhein-Westfalen and Baden-Wurttemberg.
You can identify the beginning of a low emission zone by a sign on the road with Umweltzone written across it. Likewise, you will find at the end of the zone on the roadside indicating the same. However, you may not see these signs on many minor roads that lead into or out of a low-emission zone.
All the participant cities of the low emission zone scheme in Germany require local and foreign vehicles to display a sticker on their windscreen that confirms that the vehicle meets all the requisite emission standards. These stickers are known as Umwelt Plakette in Germany, meaning emission badges.
These emission stickers come in three different colours; you must know which sticker to get. The stickers come in red, yellow, and green. The red sticker is for vehicles causing the most pollution, the yellow sticker is for vehicles causing comparatively less pollution, and the green sticker is for vehicles with the least pollution.
It is important to note that as of 2021, a vehicle with a red emission sticker is not allowed to enter a low-emission zone in Germany, so you may not find these stickers up for sale anywhere.
Similarly, a vehicle with a yellow emission sticker can only enter the Neu-Ulm’s low emission zone in Bavaria, so you do not have much use for a yellow sticker either.
Presently, vehicles with green stickers can enter all the low-emission zones in the country. If you intend to visit Germany’s low emission zone scheme participant cities, you must get the green sticker.
If your vehicle does not have the right coloured sticker displayed on the screen, you will be charged a fine of 40 euros.
How To Get A Green LEZ Sticker In Germany
Vehicles are categorised into emission groups according to their particular emissions, and a sticker is assigned according to their emission group. Here is a list of vehicles that are eligible for the green emission sticker.
Electric vehicles such as the Tesla Model S have an electric engine.
Light commercial vehicles, N1, and passenger vehicles, M1, that have a diesel engine that meets the EURO 4 emission standard (1st January 2006 and later)
Vehicles with an LPG, petrol, or hybrid engine that meets the EURO 1 emission standard (1st January 1993 and later)
Buses, M2 and M3, and trucks, N2 and N3; having a diesel engine that meets the EURO 4 emission standard (1st October 2006 and later)
Finally, vehicles with a diesel engine that meets the EURO 3 emission standard have been later fitted with a DPF or a diesel particulate filter.
It is also pertinent to note that the years mentioned in the eligibility criteria are for reference purposes only. It implies that a vehicle equipped with a diesel engine from before 2006 may already comply with the EURO 4 requirement, but a vehicle from after 2006 may not meet the standard requirement.
It usually happens in the case of many motorhomes and such RVs and varies from one manufacturer to the other. You can check the vehicle registration certificate for the requisite information.
If the exhaust emission standard of your foreign vehicle can be identified from the vehicle document, your vehicle will be classified accordingly. However, if the emission standard is not clearly stated, then you will be assigned an emission standard on the basis of the year when your vehicle was first registered.
For many vehicles, the registration certificate issued within the EU will provide the emission standard under item V, the fuel type is mentioned under item P, the first admission is mentioned under item B, and the vehicle category is indicated under item J.
How To Buy A Low Emission Zone Sticker In Germany
You can purchase an emission sticker from vehicle registration companies, city authorities, or vehicle inspection facilities, including TUV, ATU, or DEKRA. You can also seek assistance from large car dealerships.
Does The Germany Emission Sticker Have A Validity Period?
The emission sticker does not expire, and you will not need a new one unless you change your vehicle or license number plate.
Is The Same Emission Sticker Applicable Everywhere In Germany?
You can travel to any low-emission zone in Germany with the same emission sticker.
Do I Need An Emissions Sticker On The Highway In Germany?
Emission stickers are not required on the highways in Germany, and this includes the highways that cross a low emission zone.