What road users can expect in 2021

Refueling will be more expensive in 2021

Higher fuel costs, more money for commuters and longer driving tests - these are just some of the new regulations that drivers and other road users will face in the coming year. 

At the turn of the year and in the months thereafter, new traffic regulations come into force. They affect motorists and train passengers, spend money or save some. An overview.

Higher penalties for gawkers

The most important innovations are still on hold. Actually, everything should have been clear by now. But the federal government and states are still looking for a compromise in reforming the catalog of fines. If they find him in the coming year, then, among other things, higher fines apply to drivers who endanger cyclists. And driving too fast is punished more severely. Background: Because the amendment to the road traffic regulations that came into force in April contained a formal error, the rules of the old catalog of fines have temporarily been in effect again since July. However, higher penalties for gawkers have already been decided: not only filming and photographing the injured, but also the dead is punished with a prison sentence of up to two years or a fine.

If the reform of the catalog of fines comes into force, among other things, driving too fast will be punished more severely


Various changes in vehicle tax, emissions and fuel costs are also clear. The introduction of a CO2 price is likely to make diesel and gasoline more expensive by around 7 to 8 cents. In addition, there is the return to the old VAT rate of 19 percent, which increases costs by another 3 cents. So bargain hunters fill up again before New Year's Eve.

Higher spending on users of high-consumption conventional cars

Because the CO2 surcharge on the vehicle tax gets more weight, it becomes more expensive for newly registered cars with more than 95 grams of CO2 emissions per kilometer. E-car drivers, on the other hand, benefit: the vehicle tax exemption for electric vehicles now applies to first registrations until the end of 2025. Commuters are also to be relieved. From the 21st kilometer there is more money, the commuter allowance increases from 30 to 35 cents per kilometer - regardless of the means of transport used to commute to work.

There is also long-term relief when repairing accident damage

In a new law to strengthen free competition, the Bundestag has excluded visible spare parts from so-called design protection. When repairs are carried out, fenders, headlights, windows and exterior mirrors will no longer have to be obtained from vehicle manufacturers themselves, where they are usually more expensive than from independent manufacturers. However, a 25-year grandfathering applies to current designs. So initially only drivers of completely new types of cars will benefit.

This is especially important for car manufacturers

The average fleet limit of 95 grams of CO2 per kilometer will apply in the future without a back door; if exceeded, penalties are imminent. In addition, the manufacturers have to report the real consumption of each individual vehicle to the EU Commission. The obligation to install a so-called “On Board Fuel Consumption Monitor” results from the Euro-6d-final emissions standard that will apply to all new vehicles from January and will finally replace Euro-6d-temp. The rules for NOx emissions are also becoming stricter. New limit values ​​also apply to motorcycles: The Euro 5 standard will be binding for all newly registered motorcycles from January. A sale of Euro 4 stocks is still possible in 2021 under certain conditions.

And another admission regulation is new

The digital radio will be mandatory for new cars. Since December 20, every newly registered car with a radio must have the DAB + variant on board. Cars with pure analog radio can then no longer be registered, but cars without a radio receiver will still be allowed. The regulation does not apply to used cars and models already on the road; they are allowed and can continue to use FM radios.

New regulations on tire labeling will come into force in May

Tire symbols, for example for snow and ice grip, then have to be more precise and more visible so that consumers can recognize the properties more quickly. The new regulation also regulates parameters such as fuel efficiency, adhesion in wet conditions and rolling noise. Among other things, the lowest fuel efficiency classes will be deleted to make the scale clearer and more understandable.

Other changes affect the learner drivers

From January onwards, the test drive will take ten minutes longer, and it will be electronically logged by the examiner. He has to evaluate eight specific driving tasks - such as changing lanes - as well as five areas of competence. This includes adjusting the speed. At the end of the exam there is a five-minute feedback interview. It should be easier for shift-lazy people, because the test for driving license class B can in future be completed on an automatic vehicle. The prerequisite is that ten driving hours have been completed with a manual vehicle. In addition, the driving school must certify that the driver's license holder is able to drive such a vehicle safely and in an environmentally friendly manner.

There will be relief for travelers using public transport in mid-2021. According to ADAC, passenger rights are expected to be reformed in August and are primarily intended to improve the situation for passengers with disabilities or restricted mobility. In addition, every rail customer should in future have the right to take bicycles with them on the train. In addition, there is a right to compensation if so-called extraordinary circumstances such as extreme weather or a pandemic lead to a train cancellation or a delay.

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