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Germany could scrap tax breaks for diesel cars, minister says

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German Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks said on Thursday that the government should think about scrapping tax breaks for diesel cars and promoting electric automobiles instead.

[BERLIN] German Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks said on Thursday that the government should think about scrapping tax breaks for diesel cars and promoting electric automobiles instead. "That's an idea we should consider," Hendricks told ZDF television, adding that the government could also increase taxes for cars with relatively high fuel usage.

Hendricks said Berlin was still aiming to get one million electric cars on German roads by 2020. "But if we want to come closer to that goal, we really have to do something," said Hendricks, a member of the Social Democrats (SPD), junior coalition partner to Chancellor Angela Merkel Christian Democrats (CDU).

Hendricks and Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel have called for a binding quota for electric cars, with Hendricks also calling for a government subsidy for buying such vehicles.

Germany's largest carmaker Volkswagen admitted last month that it had installed software in diesel vehicles to deceive US regulators about the true level of their toxic emissions, leading to a backlash against diesel motors.

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