With UK motorists already facing charges for driving in French cities such as Paris and Lyon, driving in post-Brexit Europe could become a lot more expensive as Germany moves towards a road toll for foreigners wanting to use the Autobahn.
Since 1 April 2017, foreign drivers heading into Paris, Lyon and Grenoble must display anti-pollution stickers or face a fine of up to €138 – get the essential information here.
Germany and the Autobahn
Germany wants to implement a toll on one of its biggest attractions for foreign motorists – the Autobahn.
The Autobahn is the highway system in Germany that has no mandated speed limit across 65% of the network.
The network has been free to use for motorists, both foreign and indigenou, but Germany wants to introduce tolls to those with foreign-registered cars driving in the country.
In 2015, the Bundestag (German parliament) passed a law to establish a toll on the Autobahn, but Germany was unable to go ahead with it because the European Commission claimed it violated EU policies, discriminating against foreign motorists from EU states.
However, in November 2016, negotiations led to the Bundestag becoming able to pass specific changes for the toll charges to be enacted.
The scheme is expected to generate around €500million a year in revenue from foreign drivers.
When will the Autobahn tolls come into force?
As a result of negotiations in November 2016, the tolls charges were given the go ahead and could be implemented as soon as 2019.
There’s still a chance it could be delayed though, as the plans still need to progress through the German legislative process before further action can be taken.
How much will it cost to use the Autobahn?
The cost for foreign motorists wanting to use the Autobahn will depend on the size and environmental impact of the vehicle.
There’s an option to pay for a yearly toll as well as two short-term options.
A ten-day toll will cost between €2.50 (£2.20) and €25 (£22.03), depending on the size/eco-friendliness of the car.
Or, motorists can opt for a two-month toll, which will cost between €7 (£6.17) (and €50 (£44.06)).
As an example, a small eco-friendly car could cost €5 (£4.14)for 10 days or €15 (£13.22) for a gas-guzzler.
What about German residents?
German residents will still have to pay, with the amount based on the size and environmental impact of their vehicle.
An annual fee will average at about €67 (£59.05) and the maximum will be €130 (£114.56).
How will it be regulated and will there be a fine?
Numberplate recognition will be used to conduct checks on vehicles using the Autobahn network and motorists caught using the road without paying will be fined an, as of yet, undetermined amount.
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