GTM debug

Reading time:
6 min
Ing. Ladislav Luka, Fuel expert

The Toll for Trucks in Germany: All That You Need to Know

Germany is known for its extensive network of highways and roads, making it one of Europe’s most popular transportation hubs. A vast number of vehicles traverse the country daily, and as a result, the German Government introduced a toll system for trucks that uses the country’s highways and major roads. This system aims to generate revenue for the maintenance and expansion of roads, as well as reduce traffic congestion, improve road safety, and reduce air pollution.

The Toll for Trucks in Germany: All That You Need to Know

If you’re planning to drive a truck in Germany, it is essential to understand how the toll system works, including the types of toll, driving rules for trucks, and toll payment methods. In this article, we’ll provide an overview of the toll for trucks in Germany and everything you need to know about it.

Toll in General

A toll is a fee or charge paid to use a particular road, bridge, tunnel, or other public infrastructure. Tolls are often collected at toll booths or through electronic tolling systems, and the revenue generated from them is used to maintain and develop roads and other infrastructure projects. Tolls can vary in cost depending on the location, distance traveled, type of vehicle, and other factors.

Toll System in Germany

The German toll system, also known as the LKW Maut, applies to all trucks and commercial vehicles that weigh 7.5 tonnes or more. It is operated by Toll Collect GmbH, which was initially a joint venture led by Deutsche Telekom AG, Daimler AG, and Cofiroute until 2018 when the German Government took over the firm. It was launched in 2005 and covers all federal highways, including some state highways. 

The toll system is managed by satellite-based technology, which enables the collection of tolls without the need for toll booths. This makes it one of the most advanced toll systems in the world. It uses a combination of technologies, including GPS, vehicle detection systems, and electronic onboard units (OBUs), to track and charge tolls. OBUs are installed in the vehicles and communicate with Toll Collect’s central servers, allowing quick and easy toll payment.

Types of Toll

  1. Distance-based tolls: This is one of the factors on which the German toll system is based. It is a type of toll that charges drivers based on the distance traveled on a particular road or highway. In Germany, the amount of tax to be charged is dependent on the number of kilometers travelled over the toll network.
  1. Toll bridges and tunnels: This is a type of toll in Germany that charges drivers for using a bridge or tunnel. One example is the Herrentunnel, which is part of the national highway Bundesstrasse 75, that connects Lübeck and Travemünde. Another example is the Warnow Tunnel, which connects the east and west banks of the Warnow River. 
  1. Weight-based tolls: This type of toll charges drivers based on the weight of their vehicle. It is largely the backbone of the LKW Maut toll system in Germany. Cars with a gross weight of over 7.5 tonnes are subject to tolls on all German motorways, and those with up to 3.5 tonnes are only subject to tolls for the Herren and Warnow tunnels.

Toll Payment Methods

Tolls for German motorways only apply to vehicles with a gross weight of 7.5 tonnes or more. However, vehicles weighing 3.5 tonnes or more are still subject to tolls for the Herrentunnel and Warnow tunnel. 

When paying for tolls, there are several options available. However, this depends on the type of toll system being used. In Germany, the most common payment method for tolls is through an electronic toll collection system managed by Toll Collect, which uses an onboard unit (OBU) installed in the vehicle to automatically deduct the toll fee from a prepaid account.

In order to use the electronic toll collection system, commercial vehicles must register with the toll operator and obtain an OBU. The OBU is then installed in the vehicle and communicates with the Toll Collect system to calculate tolls based on the distance a truck has traveled and a toll rate in cents per kilometer.

Another option for paying tolls in Germany is manual payment, which can be either through the Internet, mobile application, or in-person at the Toll Collect payment terminal.

How to Calculate Truck Tolls in Germany?

The truck toll is calculated based on the distance traveled, the number of axles, the weight of the vehicle, and the emissions rating of the vehicle, which is determined by the Euro emission class. Toll rates are published on the official German truck toll website and are updated annually.

What Are the Penalties for Non-Payment of Tolls?

Failure to pay truck tolls can result in penalties and fines from the German Federal Office for Freight Transport. These penalties depend on the distance traveled and the type of vehicle.

Driving Rules for Trucks

Trucks are subject to specific driving rules in Germany to ensure road and highway safety. The section below includes some of the rules and regulations for trucks in Germany.

  • Maximum speed limits: The maximum speed limit for trucks that weigh 7.5 tonnes or more is 80 km/h on autobahns and 60 km/h on other roads.
  • Overtaking: Trucks are only allowed to overtake other vehicles on the left-hand side and are not permitted to overtake on the right-hand side except in certain circumstances, such as when turning or in heavy motorway traffic.
  • The following distance: Trucks must maintain a safe following distance of at least 50 m from vehicles in front of them if their speed exceeds 50 km/h.
  • Rest periods: Total weekly driving time must be under 56 hours, and biweekly driving time must be under 90 hours. The daily rest period must be a minimum of 11 hours.
  • Load securing: Trucks must ensure that their cargo is properly secured and does not pose a risk to other road users.
  • Trucks weighing over 7.5 tonnes are restricted from driving on all roads in Germany on public holidays and Sundays from midnight to 10:00 p.m.

History of Tolls in Germany

The first toll for trucks in Germany was introduced in 2005 with the aim of generating revenue for the maintenance of the country's road network. Initially, this toll was imposed on trucks weighing more than 12 tonnes, but it was later reduced to 7.5 tonnes or more in October 2015.

There had been plans to introduce toll collection for passenger cars for some years. However, all plans were finally discarded in 2019, and German motorways are currently toll-free for passenger vehicles. 

Today, tolls continue to play an important role in financing transportation infrastructure in Germany, with funds collected from tolls being used to maintain and expand the country's network of highways, tunnels, and bridges.

How Can Eurowag Help You With Tolls in Germany?

Eurowag is a leading provider of integrated payment and toll management solutions for commercial transportation in Europe. With Eurowag, businesses can simplify the process of toll payments and compliance with toll regulations in Germany and across the continent. Our integrated solution, the Enhanced Vehicle Assistant (EVA), combines telematics, toll payment, and anti-fraud protection into one simple device.

With our EVA solution, businesses operating in Germany can benefit from simplified toll payment processes. This feature streamlines the entire process, saving you time and ensuring compliance with toll regulations in Germany. Whether it's navigating through toll roads or managing toll expenses, our EVA solution offers a seamless and efficient experience.

Additionally, our fleet managers can track their vehicles in real-time, calculate route costs, access gas station prices, and guide drivers to the most convenient locations. Dispatchers can leverage EVA to review precise CAN Bus readings, remotely download tachograph data, monitor compliance with legal drivers' time limits, and direct drivers to safe resting locations. 

Furthermore, EVA's anti-fraud protection feature, Fuel Guard, enhances security by providing safeguards against refueling fraud. By leveraging our expertise and advanced technologies, companies can focus on their core operations while benefiting from efficient and hassle-free toll management. Contact us today to learn more about how our toll services can help your business navigate the complexities of toll payments in Germany and throughout Europe.