Stuttgart is a Low Emission Zone
Since 1st March 2008, Stuttgart has been a Low Emission Zone. This means that only vehicles in certain emission categories may drive in the urban area of Stuttgart. These regulations are designed to lower the high levels of particulate emission and nitrogen dioxide pollution in the air, and they have been implemented throughout Germany in so-called Low Emission Zones. The traffic restrictions in these Low Emission Zones apply all the time, i.e. irrespective of whether the levels of air pollution are higher or lower at any one time.
What exactly are Low Emission Zones?
Low Emission Zones are marked with special road signs. An additional sign specifies that only vehicles displaying an emissions sticker, and therefore in compliance with certain emissions gas standards, are allowed to drive within this area.
How large is the Low Emission Zone in Stuttgart?
The Low Emission Zone, where only vehicles displaying a sticker are allowed, encompasses the whole of the city of Stuttgart with all of its 23 districts (within the Stuttgart city boundaries). The only exceptions are:
- the motorways
- in Stuttgart-Obertürkheim the link to the Stegwiesen - Hafenbahnstraße - B 10
- in Stuttgart-Plieningen the link B 312 - Scharnhausen via the Mittlere Filderlinie - Neuhauser Straße and the access road to the Trade Fair Centre (parallel to the motorway).
What do the different colours of emission sticker mean?
The green sticker indicates unlimited permission to drive in the area.
Which vehicles are affected?
All vehicles are classified in one of emission categories 1 to 4. In Stuttgart the ban applies to all vehicles classified as belonging to Emission Category 1. As of July 1, 2010 the ban applies also to vehicles in Emission Category 2 and as of January 1, 2012 it applies also to vehicles in Emission Category 3.
According to the new vehicle classification regulations, vehicles with older US catalytic converters, which were previously classified as belonging to Emission Category 1, are now given an Emission Category 4 sticker, as are cars retrofitted with diesel soot filters in Euro-1 emission class and HGVs.
Which vehicles are exempt?
In accordance with the Clean Air Plan/Action Schedule issued by the Stuttgart Regional Administrative Authority, vehicles are exempt from the driving ban in the Stuttgart Low Emission Zone if they display the correct sticker for their emission category, i.e. sticker 2 (red; until July 1, 2010), 3 (yellow; until January 1, 2012) or 4 (green).
The following are legally exempt from the driving ban and are not, therefore, required to display a sticker:
- Mobile machines and equipment,
- Work machines,
- Agricultural and forestry tractors/towing machines,
- Two-wheeled and three-wheeled motor vehicles
- Ambulances, emergency doctors' vehicles with the relevant markings "Arzt" (doctor) or "Notfalleinsatz" (emergency service) (in accordance with Paragraph 52, Section 6 of the German Road Traffic Licensing Regulations),
- Motor vehicles which are driven by or used to drive persons with an exceptional walking disability, or who require continual assistance or are blind. These individuals must be able to provide evidence of this with the letters aG, H or Bl in their severely handicapped ID pass,
- Vehicles for which special rights can be claimed in accordance with Paragraph 35 of the German Road Traffic Regulations,
- Vehicles belonging to non-German troops from non-contractual states of the North Atlantic Pact, which are in Germany for purposes of military co-operation, and on condition that the vehicles are being used for journeys required for urgent military reasons,
- Civilian vehicles that are being used by order of the German Federal Armed Forces, as long as this concerns undelayable journeys required to fulfil official duties for the German Federal Armed Forces,
- Classic cars (in accordance with Paragraph 2, No. 22 of the German Vehicle Registration Regulations) which have a licence plate in accordance with Paragraph 9, Section 1 or Paragraph 17 of the Vehicle Registration Regulations, and vehicles registered in another member state of the European Union, another contractual party to the Agreement on the European Economic Area or Turkey, if they fulfil equivalent requirements.
Do vehicles with foreign registration plates need a sticker?
Yes, vehicles with foreign registration plates are also required to display a sticker. The following options are available for vehicles with non-German registration plates:
- After crossing the German border the sticker can be obtained by showing your motor vehicle registration certificate at, for example, authorised garages, vehicle inspection and emissions testing centres and at motor vehicle registration offices.
- You can send a copy of the abovementioned documents to:
Kfz-Zulassungs- und Führerscheinstelle
Alternatively, you may scan the document(s) and send it/them by e-mail to:
It is advisable to send them well in advance of your trip (at least 10 days). We do not recommend making an application by fax, since the technical data is often difficult to read off a faxed copy.
If a sticker can be issued, it will be sent to you by mail with a request for payment. Please make this payment using the relevant forms issued by your bank for foreign bank transfers and enter the following data: IBAN -DE 28600501010002002408-; BIC -SOLADEST-. Payments from the EURO-Zone are charged at the usual rate. Charges for transfers from other countries may be different and information about this can be provided by your bank. In the event that an emissions sticker cannot be issued, you will be informed of this in writing; this information is provided free of charge.
- You can also apply for a sticker from the following commercial organisations:
Dekra Automobil GmbH
GTÜ Gesellschaft für technische Überwachung mbH
Vor dem Lauch 25
Are camper vans exempt from having to display a sticker?
How and where can particulate emissions stickers be obtained?
Particulate emissions stickers are available from the city of Stuttgart for a charge of 6 Euros each. They can be ordered online (only vehicles with German registration plate) or alternatively purchased from vehicle registration centres and citizens' advice bureaus. They are also available from private organisations and garages (prices may vary, please enquire at the place of purchase).
- Order emissions stickers online (only vehicles with German registration plates) (service in German, opens in new window)
Where do I display the sticker?
The sticker should be attached at the right-hand side of the windscreen, either at the top or bottom. To do so, peel the paper off the front of the sticker and stick it to the inside of the windscreen.
Does the validity of the sticker expire?
There is no time limit on the validity of the stickers. However, you do need a new sticker if your vehicle registration number changes.
What are the consequences for drivers caught in the Low Emission Zone without a sticker displayed on their vehicle?
According to the Ministry of the Environment, this offence incurs a fine of 80 Euros.
Information about the Feinstaubalarm
Stuttgart's special topography with its elevation and valleys provides spectacular views in many places, but it also has a
flip side. By virtue of its location in a basin, certain weather conditions can lead to relatively little airflow in the inner city,
producing conditions conducive to the build-up of air pollutants such as fine dust or nitrogen oxide.
As an environmentally conscious city, Stuttgart is setting itself the challenge of controlling air pollution - more actively,
aggressively and transparently than many other cities. Never before has there been so much vigorous discussion concerning
Stuttgart's air! The aim is to improve the quality of life in the city. That means less noise, fewer traffic jams, less stress and,
above all, fewer air pollutants.
The air in the Stuttgart valley basin has already become noticeably better thanks to various efforts made. The pollution also
cannot be compared to that in many megacities around the globe. However, the city hasn't yet reached its target on air
pollution control; fine dust and nitrogen dioxide values have to come down further.
Stuttgart is setting an example with the voluntary Feinstaubalarm: Stuttgart is tackling it! Together for cleaner air.
Together for cleaner air: Stuttgart is tackling it! (PDF)