Before departure, you should make sure to order an environment sticker required to drive in most major cities in Germany. Or can you ignore the order of the German eco-label (Umwelt-Plakette)?

In 2010, a requirement was introduced in a handful of German cities telling that all cars must have an environmental sticker. This indicates the environmental classification of the vehicle. Today, 2017, 70 cities have joined the requirement of environmental zones (Umweltzonen).

Stickers are ordered easiest prior to departure from Dekra, but can also be purchased at TÜV stations in Germany. Then you should ask for “Feinstaubplakette”

Which vehicles need the environmental label in Germany?

Petrol cars registered before 1992 and diesel cars registered before 1996 cannot get any decal. These are thus prohibited in environmental zones.

There are 3 different colors on the label depending on the vehicle.

  • Red: Diesel cars registered between 1 January 1997 and 31 December 2000.
  • Yellow: Diesel cars registered between 1 January 2001 and 31 December 2005.
  • Green: Diesel cars registered from 1 January 2006 and which meet at least Euro 4 standard. Green sticker is also for petrol cars registered from 1 January 1993.

Motorcycles don’t need a sticker.

When do you need an ECO-sticker?

Autobahn doesn’t use green zones. If you are just passing through Germany and don’t plan driving into a city center, you don’t need to order any decal. However, the stickers are valid the car’s lifetime (or until the windscreen needs to be replaced), so it may still be worth ordering one if you would do a detour from the Autobahn.

In northern Germany have so far only Bremen and Hanover joined the environmental zone requirement. By contrast, in southern and western Germany connected cities are more common.

If you don’t have the environmental label

If you should run into an environmental zone without a sticker and get stopped by the police, this resulting in 40 Euros in fine and towing from the site.

Other information

The sticker costs 8-12 Euro for cars and should be attached to the bottom of the right corner of the windshield.