The German truck toll is by its very nature a tricky topic that concerns all market participants – companies that commission transport services and logistics service providers. There will be fundamental changes and reforms to the truck toll in Germany in 2023 and 2024. What does this imply for foreign market participants in concrete terms? Which change will come into force and when? And what are the actual effects regarding more sustainable logistics on the road? Here, we give you an up-to-date overview of the 2023 and 2024 German truck tolls.
German Truck Toll 2023: Changes in Several Steps
The year 2023 is characterized by fundamental changes in the truck toll in Germany. There are four different dates and stages of change: the 2023 truck toll increase, which already came into force on January 1, will be followed by further significant modifications on December 1, 2023, January 1, 2024, and July 1, 2024.
Objectives of the Amendment to the German Federal Trunk Road Toll Act
The changes to the truck toll in 2023 and 2024 result from the Toll Amendment Act adopted by the German government. Among other things, the changes include new toll rates, the introduction of a toll on CO2 emissions, the abolition of the toll exemption for natural gas vehicles, and the extension of the toll to vehicles with a permissible total weight of over 3.5 tons. The aim: to make road freight more eco-efficient and to “reward” transport service providers participating in the German market who invest in sustainable, lower-emission and lower-consumption vehicles.
Truck Toll Increase as of January 1, 2023
The toll for trucks in Germany has been raised with effect from the beginning of 2023. The rates were redefined based on the current report on infrastructure costs, which is compiled every five years. Three factors are decisive:
- number of axes
- emission class
- permissible total weight of the vehicle combination
Therefore, the specific amount of the toll increase cannot be given as a lump sum but depends on the circumstances of the particular transportation need.
New Emission Classes from December 2023
Another essential step in the restructuring of truck tolls will be taken on December 1, 2023, with the introduction of CO2 emission classes as a new tariff criterion. The calculation basis is a surcharge of 200 euros per ton of CO2 emissions, which is levied on all vehicles with a technically permissible total weight of over 7.5 tons. The amount of the individual surcharge in addition to the current toll for the respective vehicle depends on the emission class. There are five different levels.
The 5 New Emission Classes at a Glance
- Class 1: highest CO2 emissions and correspondingly the highest possible surcharge. What ist important to know: TollCollect, the competent entity in Germany for the collection of truck tolls, initially classifies all registered vehicles with combustion engines in this emission class. Vehicle operators must themselves take action to apply for a better classification, if appropriate.
- Classes 2 and 3 are assigned when entering the vehicle data in the TollCollect portal according to the specific CO2 emissions. This requires an upload of the relevant vehicle documents.
- Class 4 comprises low-emission trucks, such as natural gas vehicles.
- Class 5: only zero-emission trucks, specifically battery- or hydrogen-powered electric vehicles, are eligible for this class. These are fully exempt from tolls up to December 31, 2025.
German Truck Toll 2024: Exemption for Natural Gas Vehicles Expires
Another substantial change to the truck toll will come as early as January 1, 2024: On this date, the toll exemption for commercial vehicles powered by natural gas (CNG/LNG) will cease to apply. Instead, they will also be categorized in emission classes – in the same way as the regulation described above.
Truck Toll 2024: Starting at 3.5 Tons Total Weight
Another six months later, on July 1, 2024, a further fundamental reform of the German truck toll will come into effect. From this date, tolls will also be due for all vehicles with a technically permissible total weight of only more than 3.5 tons when using German federal trunk roads. This new category includes both single vehicles and vehicle combinations if the tractor unit weighs more than 3.5 tons.
Exemptions from the Toll for Vehicles over 3.5 tons
The obligation to pay tolls from a weight of 3.5 tons applies only if vehicles in this weight category are used for road haulage and road transport. From mid-2024, the following will also be exempt from this toll obligation:
- emission-free vehicles with a technically permissible total weight of up to 4.25 tons: This toll exemption is permanent.
- emission-free heavy commercial vehicles: The toll exemption is effective until December 31, 2025.
- vehicles used by craftsmen and technicians with a total weight of less than 7.5 tons
Conclusion: The Truck Toll in Germany Is Changing Fundamentally
Since the introduction of the truck toll in Germany in 2005, the system has developed into an important control instrument for the German government. One aim is to co-finance the expansion and maintenance of the federal trunk road network based on the actual use – with German and foreign road users being equally liable to pay the toll. In addition, the German government wants to make road freight more sustainable and reduce emissions. The upcoming changes, which will take place in several steps, are designed to make a significant contribution to this goal.
It goes without saying that it is a priority for us to keep you informed about truck tolls in a timely and transparent manner. That is why DHL Freight and DHL Group inform their customers proactively and at an early stage about changes and rate adjustments relating to the German truck toll.