Ms. Knopf, the transport sector is one of the few areas in which emissions have actually increased, despite all the efficiency gains in the automotive sector.

Are we driving too much, or are the vehicles too big?

Corinna Budras

Business correspondent in Berlin.

  • Follow I follow

It's both.

You can see that in our report by the Expert Council on Climate Issues from last November.

Cars have become heavier, but the need for mobility has also increased.

Both are expressed in a rebound effect: gains in efficiency are thwarted by higher consumption.

This is a persistent, structural problem.

Even if Transport Minister Volker Wissing finally presented a comprehensive package of measures, things would only get moving with a time lag.

That's why we have to tackle the traffic turnaround quickly so that we can meet the climate targets by 2030.

Now a speed limit is often demanded because it would bring something immediately.

That's true, but the debate is so skewed.

I think it should be introduced, but let others argue about that.

Perhaps other measures are easier to enforce - such as removing the strong false incentives through the company car privilege.






which is first and foremost a lump sum taxation and not a privilege.

The private use of a company car is taxed at a flat rate of one percent of the list price.

There are some with usage above that, others below.

On average, these are very large cars.

And in many cases, the employer also pays for the fuel for private trips - so that the weekend trip to the Baltic Sea is guaranteed not to be made by train.

This is a misguided incentive that could be abolished tomorrow, at least for all future company cars.

Or you limit the company car privilege to electric vehicles.

Other measures could also quickly take effect.

The annual motor vehicle tax should be changed to a registration tax for new cars that is heavily based on CO2 emissions.

The end of the diesel privilege, which was promised in the coalition agreement and has not yet been tackled due to the energy crisis, is also urgently overdue: after the end of the tank discount, a liter of diesel will again be taxed at around 20 cents less than a liter of petrol,

To what extent do the financial aspects play a role for people at all?

There are some interesting analyzes on this question.

Scientific studies show that people react three to four times more strongly to price increases when the government actively communicates them and thus makes them visible.

Therefore, one should also publish the price increases within the framework of national emissions trading as prominently as possible.

In the past year, however, exactly the opposite happened: When prices rose, the federal government clearly countered this with the tank discount.

That was a mistake.

Politicians can make such price increases plausible to the public by emphasizing that they relieve the burden on the population elsewhere.

People are adapting their behavior to the rising prices.

Our Expert Council report cites one strong indication of this, namely tank tourism: from 2000 to 2012, fuel prices in Germany rose, and people increasingly tanked up abroad.

From 2012 to 2020, fuel prices fell again and more domestic fuel was used.

The behavioral effect is pretty clear.

However, refueling abroad does not help the climate either.

What makes people switch?