According to the German Federal Environment Agency (UBA), nitrogen oxides
emissions (Nox) in Germany in 2016 were down by 58% from the level
recorded in 1990.
Compared with 1995, they still decreased by 44%, marking
the lowest level of nitrogen oxides air pollution witnessed in recent German
history. This positive evolution is the result of several factors, including
regulatory targets (e.g. Limit values for nitrogen oxides emissions) and the
technological progress (e.g. Improved combustion processes). Of the major
emission sources of nitrogen oxides, road traffic posted the strongest declines
over the past 20 years (2016 vs 1995: -62%), whereas reductions in other areas
as, for instance, the energy sector (-12% in the same period) were relatively
modest. From 52% in 1995, the contribution of road traffic to total nitrogen
oxides emissions in Germany declined to 35% (2016).
It thus continues to be
the main source of nitrogen oxides emissions, with diesel-powered vehicles
accounting for the lion’s share.