National traffic rules and requirements for drivers, including general rules for the use of the national road infrastructure: time-based charges (vignette), distance- based charges (toll), emission stickers

Information about Rights & Duties of #Owning a motor vehicle

Information about Rights & Duties

National traffic rules and requirements for drivers, including general rules for the use of the national road infrastructure: time-based charges (vignette), distance- based charges (toll), emission stickers

HGV toll

The toll obligation in Germany applies in accordance with the definition set out in the German Federal Trunk Road Toll Act (BFStrMG)Opens in new window to motor vehicles and vehicle combinations that

  • are intended to be used for the carriage of goods or
  • are used for the carriage of goods

and have a total permissible weight including trailer of at least 7.5 t. Motor vehicles below 7.5 t, including passenger vehicles, are not required to pay a toll in Germany. Exemptions from the toll obligation are set out hereOpens in new window .

All trunk roads (approximately 38 000 kilometres) and federal motorways (approximately 13 000 kilometres) in Germany are subject to the toll.

The following roads are excluded:

  1. the A 6 motorway from the German/French border to the Saarbrücken-Fechingen junction in both directions of travel
  2. the A 5 motorway from the German/Swiss border and the German/French border to the Müllheim/Neuenburg junction in both directions of travel
  3. the Warnow Tunnel (administrative district of Rostock) and the Herren Tunnel (administrative district of Lübeck).

The calculation basis is the length of the route subject to the toll. All rate distances on routes subject to the toll are set out in a toll table, which is available onlineOpens in new window at. The toll rate per kilometre is made up of three sub-rates for infrastructure costs, air pollution costs and noise pollution costs. Its amount is dependent on the emission class and weight class of the vehicle subject to the toll. Since 1 January 2019, a differentiation is made between the following four weight classes within the emission classes:

? 7.5 t to 11.99 t

? 12 t to ? 18 t

> 18 t with up to three axles

> 18 t with four or more axles.

The individual toll rates can be found

The toll rates are identical for German citizens and foreign nationals.

The toll can be paid by means of automatic log-on via an on-board unit from Toll Collect GmbH or a provider of the European Electronic Toll Service. Manual log-on is also possible via the Toll Collect app, online log-on via toll-collect websiteOpens in new window and manual log-on at around 500 toll station terminals. Manual log-on and online log-on must be completed before the start of the journey. Various payment methods can be used (including credit card, fuel card, cash). Anyone who does not duly pay the toll is in violation of the legal regulations and is committing an administrative offence.

Emissions stickers

In many German cities, environmental zones have been established to reduce the air pollution caused by fine particulates and nitrogen dioxide. Environmental zones are areas where only vehicles that meet certain emission standards are allowed to enter. Vehicles (passenger vehicles and HGVs) must have a sticker on their windscreen. The aim of these environmental zones is to reduce the harmful emissions generated by traffic. There are currently 58 environmental zones in Germany. Other environmental zones are being discussed.

An environmental zone is signposted by traffic signs and additional signs. Provisions on the labelling of vehicles with a sticker (inside the windscreen) and the assignment of the correct sticker to the vehicle are set out in the German Regulation on the Identification of Motor Vehicles with a Small Share of the Pollutant Load (35. BImSchV). The stickers are valid in all environmental zones across Germany.

In 57 environmental zones in Germany, only vehicles with a green sticker are permitted. In one environmental zone (Neu-Ulm), vehicles with a yellow sticker are still permitted to enter. There are regional variations in terms of the environmental zones that may be entered based on the sticker.

In addition, efforts are being made to mutually recognise stickers in other countries, for example Czech stickers are already recognised in Germany (however, no Czech stickers have been issued yet due to delays in the introduction on the Czech side and German stickers are not yet recognised in the Czech Republic).

The validity of the stickers is not time-limited. A new sticker is required if

- the vehicle is re-registered and the vehicle registration number changes during this process, as the number on the sticker must match the vehicle registration number;

- the registration number on the sticker is no longer legible, for example if the colour has faded.

There are currently four emissions groups, and these are based primarily on particulate emissions. The lower the level of particulate emissions, the higher the emissions group. The emissions stickers are available in three colours red, yellow and green according to the relevant emissions group. Passenger vehicles, HGVs and buses are affected by potential driving bans. Motorbikes and three-wheeled motor vehicles, working machines, agricultural and forestry tractors, mobile machines/equipment, vintage cars, motor vehicles used by people with disabilities and motor vehicles travelling with special rights are exempt.

Emissions group 1 (no sticker) includes passenger vehicles without a regulated catalytic converter, diesel passenger vehicles pursuant to EURO 1 or less and HGVs pursuant to EURO 1 or less. Stickers cannot be obtained for these vehicles. This represents less than 2% of vehicles from 2015.

All other vehicles can receive a sticker. The emission key specified in the car credentials is decisive in determining the assigned emissions group. Exemptions for individual vehicles may also be granted on request. If such an exemption is granted, the environmental zone for which approval has been issued may be entered without the relevant sticker required.

The German Environment Agency compiles the information provided by state and local authorities regarding the environmental zones in an overview for the whole of the Federal Republic. The relevant local authorities are responsible for ensuring that the information provided is correct, complete and up to date.

Further information

Further information on the toll obligation in Germany is available at:

Bundesamt für GüterverkehrOpens in new window

Bundesministerium für Verkehr und digitale Infrastruktur (Opens in new window Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure)

Toll CollectOpens in new window

Responsible for the content
Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure

Last update or date of publication
05.03.2020