08 Jul 2024, 13:32
Jennifer Collins

More cars in Germany but fewer on the roads – report

Clean Energy Wire

Germany has a record number of cars, but fewer people are using them on the road, according to an analysis by transport policy think tank Agora Verkehrswende. "Despite a slight increase in the population and a steadily growing number of cars, car traffic has decreased compared to 2019. Traffic growth is therefore not a law of nature," said Wiebke Zimmer, deputy director of Agora Verkehrswende. At the end of 2023, Germany had more than 49 million registered cars but the numbers taking to the Autobahn had dropped 7 percent compared to 2019. Cities like Berlin, Hamburg and Munich saw similar and, in some cases, even bigger declines.  

While the number of public transport passengers has not reached pre-pandemic levels after a sharp decrease, around 6 percent more people are traveling in long-distance trains, found the analysis based on a report by consultancy firm KCW. Agora traces the changes to three main factors: remote working policies, the introduction of the Germany-wide public transport ticket for 49 euros per month, and an increase in carbon pricing for fossil fuels.  

Still, the transport sector remains Germany's "problem child”, as emissions have not decreased significantly since the early 1990s. A recent report from Agora Verkehrswende found that delaying climate action in the sector would lead to a significantly more expensive transition to climate neutrality by 2045. Emissions projections published in March showed that transport will not meet its targets, exceeding limits set by Germany's current climate law by around 200 million tonnes of CO2 equivalents in the years until 2030.   

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