U.S. officials said Wednesday they are monitoring the fallout of a German court ruling that could mean diesel vehicles — the vast majority of military fleet cars — will eventually be banned within Stuttgart city limits.
Larry Reilly, the spokesman for the U.S. Army’s garrison in Stuttgart, said Wednesday that they will be in close consultation with city officials.
“We’ll need to find out what any changes mean not just for our community members, but also our own fleet,” he said.
This week Germany’s highest administrative court ruled that cities such as Stuttgart have the right to ban diesel motors in an effort to improve air quality. The court ruling would affect certain older diesel engines. For now, it remains unclear how Stuttgart city officials intend to move forward.
There are roughly 20,000 Americans in the Stuttgart military community, with many personnel living off post downtown. There also are scores of U.S. military diesel vehicles — typically Ford Focuses — used for business in and around Stuttgart and across Germany.
About 80 percent of the 4,800 vehicles managed by the Interagency Fleet Management System in Europe run on diesel. The cars, most of which are based in Germany and are used by personnel for business, could shift from diesel to gas with relative ease if required, an IFMS official said Wednesday.
On Tuesday, Germany’s highest administrative court said Stuttgart has the authority to ban higher polluting cars in response to concerns about air pollution. Drivers and manufacturers of diesel-fueled cars are among the most likely to be affected if Stuttgart’s Green-led government acted on the court ruling.
Residents of Stuttgart, home to Daimler and Porsche headquarters, have long been concerned about air quality.
Stuttgart was the focal point of the German court case, which could set a precedent for other urban areas.
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