Autobahns become toll roads from 2015

The German autobahn motorway network could become a toll road for visitors from 2015

Paying for a lap of the Nurburgring Nordschleife is part of the ritual of visiting Germany's most infamous stretch of public road, but from next year foreign visitors may have to pay a toll to use the nation's autobahn network too.

The German government plans to implement a permit system for foreign drivers using the country's autobahns. Transport minister Alexander Dobrindt says the tolls will help maintain the country's infrastructure, bolstering Germany's economy by up to 2.5 billion euros over the next four years.

Subscribe to evo magazine

Subscribe today to our exclusive new offer and SAVE 39% on the shop price, get evo for its original cover price of £3.00 an issue, plus get a FREE gift worth £20!

Germany's department of transportation estimates that foreign drivers make up to 170 million trips on the nation's roads each year, yet contribute very little to the network's upkeep.  Countries including Austria and the Netherlands have already raised complaints about Germany's proposal, but Dobrindt says the plans will be formalised into a law this year.

So what does this mean for Brits aiming for V-max on the famous de-restricted sections? Not a great deal, unless you're a regular visitor to the country. 10 euros will be enough to secure a ten-day pass, 20 euros will cover two months and an annual pass will set you back somewhere north of 100 euros (around eighty pounds). Each is a little more than Austria charges road users to drive on its less-frequented motorways, but short trips to Germany could still prove cheaper than the flat 33-euro annual fee for using Switzerland's multi-lane network.

Advertisement - Article continues below

However, those with faster vehicles are likely to end up paying more under Germany's scheme, as a vehicle's engine size, emissions ratings and age will all be taken into account. German motorists will also be subject to the charge, but Dobrindt's proposal includes compensation through a break in Germany's annual vehicle tax. The plan is already a hit with southern German drivers, long frustrated by Austrian and Swiss tolls while foreign visitors pound the autobahns for free.

One stumbling block for the German transport department's plans could stem from Brussels, as foreigners-only fees potentially contravene European Union non-discrimination laws. Those who regularly commute into Germany may well agree, but for Brits exploring Germany's de-restricted autobahns, the ten-euro fee may soon be an incidental cost on top of a 27-euro Nurburgring lap...



BMW 5 Series saloon

2020 BMW 5-series facelift spied with subtle updates

22 Jul 2019

Most Popular

Mercedes CLA45 AMG hatchback

Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 S coupe UK review

The more stylish version of eCoty 2019’s bronze medallist is as impressive on UK roads as it was overseas
28 Mar 2020
Nissan Juke R

This Nissan Juke-R can be yours for $719,579

Near-700bhp Nissan special project Juke-R goes up for sale in Germany 
30 Mar 2020
Ferrari F40

Ferrari F40 – review, history, prices and specs

Despite having a turbocharged V8 instead of a normally aspirated V12, the F40 is often regarded as the greatest-ever Ferrari road car
21 Mar 2020
Hyundai i30 N hatchback

Hyundai i30 Fastback N versus the Col de Turini

We take the Hyundai i30 Fastback N up the Col de Turini, a 31km stage of the Monte Carlo World Rally Championship
19 Jul 2019