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Schizophrenia of German drivers

Cheap, fast and easy. That's how Germans like their mobility. Many don't care whether it is also good for the climate. So although many citizens are calling for more climate protection, they don't want to start with their own cars.

When it comes to mobility in Germany, cost, speed and flexibility are at the top of the list. Less important, on the other hand, are CO2 neutrality and road safety. Especially during the Corona pandemic, many people again relied a lot on the car, for example to avoid overcrowded trains and buses.

73% of the 4000 people surveyed in a study by the insurance company HUK-Coburg said that they see the car (or e-car) as their preferred means of transport because it meets their needs. Only 16% stated the train and just 10% the bus as their favoured means of transport.

This attitude of the citizens is also reflected in the number of vehicles in Germany. For in recent years, the number of cars in Germany has continued to increase. At the beginning of 2019, there were 567 vehicles per 1000 inhabitants, according to the Federal Motor Transport Authority and the Federal Statistical Office. In 2008, there were still 501. Especially in rural areas, cars are irreplaceable to stay mobile, according to transport researcher Andreas Knie from the Social Science Research Center Berlin. Never before have connections to local transport been as bad there as they are today. But there are also an incredible number of vehicles in the cities. In Berlin, at 332, there are comparatively few cars per 1000 inhabitants. In the Main-Taunus area between Wiesbaden and Frankfurt, on the other hand, there are 700 vehicles per 1000 inhabitants. The front-runner, by the way, is VW's headquarters in Wolfsburg, where there are an incredible 1100 vehicles per 1000 inhabitants. However, most VW service vehicles are registered here, even if they are driven elsewhere.

Similar to topics such as food standards, where many people want more animal welfare and better quality, but are hardly willing to dig deeper into their pockets for this, or the topic of consumption and sustainability, Germans are clearly too fond of their cars to want to leave them behind for climate protection. For 7 out of 10 people, a car is indispensable in the household.

This statistic clearly shows that politics must finally create other offers to make the motorist republic greener on the roads. The expansion of public transport and cycle paths, as well as car sharing, must be promoted significantly more in order to be more attractive. If necessary, bans such as environmental zones or completely car-free zones must also help to reduce the number of car journeys in Germany.

Germany still has a long way to go to protect both the health of its citizens and the climate more in the transport sector.