The state government in Lower Saxony is preaching traffic turnaround and climate protection - and continues to rely on heavy diesel limousines.
It couldn't be more hypocritical: nitrogen oxide levels in Hanover have been above the limit for years. Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH) has already taken legal action here too. The city has drawn up a detailed air pollution control plan, which aims to introduce 30 km/h speed limits, improve traffic flow and expand public transport. Electric mobility is also to be promoted: But not with your own company car, please.
According to the German Press Agency, 10 of the 11 members of the government continue to drive heavy diesel vehicles of the VW subsidiary Audi. Prime Minister Stefan Weil (SPD) is one of them. Only Environment Minister Olaf Lies (SPD) has a VW-E-Golf - but only as a second car for short distances. Interior Minister Boris Pistorius is the only one who drives a petrol engine. The argument against the electric cars: the range is too short, the price not economical. "For a limousine with emission-free drive, the ministers would have had to turn to Tesla until now - nobody wanted to do that to the VW managers in Wolfsburg," said transport expert Benjamin Stephan.
Every day we hear that we should all change our behaviour to counteract climate change. So how is it possible that politicians in Hanover have so clearly failed to understand their potential pioneering role, or simply ignored it? Because the average consumer does not have the money to swap his old diesel for an electric car. He relies on his car to take the children to the day-care centre or to do the bulk shopping. And he has no one to quickly fill up the car - or recharge it - before driving to work or a meeting.
So if not electric, why don't politicians in Lower Saxony drive hybrid cars or at least petrol? And why does it have to be limousines and not the small VW Golf?
All that is left is a shake of the head. Because that is how politicians contribute to air pollution, which leads to more environmental zones and even more bans on diesel driving, which the average citizen then has to pay for.