Due to the disturbing increase in forest damages over the last few years in the Federal Republic of Germany, the government decided von 21 July and 10 October 1983 to adopt the U.S. exhaust gas emission regulations for private motor vehicles. These regulations are considerably more stringent than the present European regulations, and it was confirmed on 19 September 1984 that they will come into force on 1 Januar 1989. Purchasers of low polluting cars meeting the existing U.S. standards prior to 1989 will be released from the road tax by two to ten years depending on the vehicle size.
For the time being the final step has thus been taken in an environmental politics development which has been going on for fifteen years and has resulted in Germany lagging considerably behind other highly industrialized countries such as Japan and the USA. In these countries similar targets in environmental politics have been reached some years ago, but in Germany this will not be the case until the above-mentioned regulations come into force.