15 Feb 2023, 12:59
Benjamin Wehrmann

Germans say public transport key to achieving climate targets but refuse to let go of cars

Clean Energy Wire

Decarbonisation in the mobility sector is the most important area for achieving more effective climate action, a majority of respondents in a survey commissioned by German science academy Acatech has found. Five out of the ten most important levers for improving emissions reduction are thought to be in the mobility sector, the survey carried out by the Allensbach Institute found. The expansion of public transport options was ranked as the most effective task by 71 percent of respondents, followed by shifting freight transport from the road to railways and ships (67%), introducing low-emissions propulsion systems (63%) and alternative fuels such as hydrogen (62%). However, private cars remained the most popular mobility choice in Germany, with 47 percent saying they use it on a daily basis and another 23 percent at least several times a week. By contrast, only 18 percent use a bicycle every day and another 25 percent several times a week. A total of 42 percent said public transport is indispensable for them and 23 percent of car users said buses and trains could be a viable alternative for them. People in rural areas and in eastern Germany generally were more sceptical towards changing their car for public transport but also less than one in three city-dwellers said they could imagine giving up their car. About half of all respondents said public transport tickets are currently too expensive and almost two thirds said they welcome the planned introduction of a nationwide public transport ticket for 49 euros per month.

About one quarter (23%) said they could imagine buying an electric car, which are thought to be too expensive, lack charging stations and have a questionable emissions balance. A majority believe that e-cars will become dominant within the next ten years, but only 22 percent think that this is a good thing. Likewise, 62 percent expect a ban on individual cars in inner cities while only 26 percent support this concept. “Many people in our country intensively think of available options to change their mobility behaviour,” Allensbach Institute leader Renate Köcher said. “In spite of this, the car remains indispensable for many people, especially in smaller cities and the countryside.” Public expectations about the future of mobility in the country are differing widely, Köcher said, arguing that policymakers, companies and researchers should find a way to respond to that. 

All texts created by the Clean Energy Wire are available under a “Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence (CC BY 4.0)” . They can be copied, shared and made publicly accessible by users so long as they give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made.
« previous news next news »


Researching a story? Drop CLEW a line or give us a call for background material and contacts.

Get support

+49 30 62858 497

Journalism for the energy transition

Get our Newsletter
Join our Network
Find an interviewee