Germany’s Federal Administrative Court ruled this week that cities in the nation can legally ban diesel vehicles. German states sought to appeal local bans by Stuttgart and Duesseldorf, but the federal ruling paves the way for cities to impose bans as they see fit to help improve air quality.

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Germany is known for its passion for cars, and while Stuttgart is home to Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, it is also home to some of the worst air pollution in Germany. To help tackle the problem, the city banned older diesel vehicles on days when pollution is heavy. But the country’s powerful auto industry lobby worked to push against the ban.

Related: German government votes to ban new combustion engine cars by 2030

The court ruling doesn’t impose any bans itself. Instead, it opens the doors for localities to decide how to manage their own air quality. A ban potentially leaves some car owners and the auto industry lobby in a difficult position, but it is also being hailed as a huge win for the environment.


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