Germany to Announce Decision of Diesel Cars Ban on Thursday

German court to rule on city bans for heavily polluting diesel cars

But judges said the process had taken longer than expected and set a date of February 27 for a ruling.

The Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig began hearing the case Thursday and had been expected to issue a verdict within hours.

One of Germany's top courts will rule on Thursday whether heavily polluting vehicles can be banned from the urban centres of Stuttgart and Düsseldorf, a landmark ruling which could cause traffic chaos and dramatically hit the value of diesel cars on the country's roads.

Diesel powered cars has been under scrutiny since 2015 when Volkswagen admitted to using cheat software to get around emissions tests.

Earlier this year Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH) sued nine German cities including Stuttgart and Dusseldorf in a bid to allow municipalities to ban diesel cars from city centres.

And the nation's automakers have been eyeing the courts nervously, as bans could affect 9.4 million vehicles not meeting the latest Euro 6 standards.

Some 70 cities in Germany suffered from average annual nitrogen dioxide levels above European Union thresholds previous year, with Munich, Stuttgart and Cologne the worst offenders. By 2025 diesel passenger cars are expected to make up only 15-32% of new sales, with states expected to follow the lead of Britain and France banning new diesel cars completely by 2040.

Ministers suggested to the European Commission they could offer free public transport to cut down on urban auto use, although without a detailed plan or budget.

The Stuttgart court had ruled in?July against the Baden-Wuerttemberg state government, which had attempted to halt the diesel ban by putting forward a plan to modify emissions-control software.

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