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Car study: comeback of the gasoline engine

Targobank surveyed Germany's motorists on their current mood. The Düsseldorf-based bank has commissioned the Forsa survey institute to conduct this car study every year since 2016. This year's survey once again focused on the decision-making criteria for buying a car, attitudes toward different types of drive, and fundamental views on current traffic policy issues and measures.

One of the most surprising results of the current survey was the comeback of the gasoline engine. Expressed in figures: 30 percent of respondents give priority to this drive system (2022: 22 percent). This is matched by the fact that 65 percent (+5) also reject the ban on internal combustion engines that will come into force from 2035. By contrast, the popularity of alternative drive systems is declining significantly compared with the previous year: only just under 36 percent (-7) of those surveyed are planning to switch when they next buy a car. The popularity of hybrid cars in particular is declining, with 18 percent (-4) still opting for them and 16 percent (-1) considering a pure electric vehicle.

On the other hand, the popularity of diesel drive continues to decline slightly this year with 10 percent of respondents (-1 percent). 20 percent are still undecided about the drive system. The currently much-discussed e-fuels are much better known than last year: 78 percent are familiar with the term (+23). 54 percent (-3) think the technology should be pursued further.

E-cars not a more environmentally friendly alternative

By contrast, the environmentally friendly image of electric vehicles has been steadily declining since 2016: only 39 percent of respondents still consider e-cars to be more environmentally friendly than internal combustion engines across the board (-5). Compared with the latest generation of internal combustion engines, as many as two-thirds (66 percent, +5) believe that e-cars are not a more environmentally friendly alternative. The reservations against e-cars are partly based on sustainability aspects: 57 percent (+0) criticize the environmental impact of the batteries, 49 percent (+2) their limited service life. Sixty-three percent (+2) cite the lack of a charging station network as an argument against buying an e-car, while 66 percent (+2) say the range is too short. For 64 percent (+4), the comparatively high purchase price is an argument against an e-car.

In this context, it is interesting to note that the discontinuation and reduction of government subsidies for hybrids and e-cars only influenced the purchasing behavior of ten percent of respondents. In general, support for financial subsidies for electric cars drops slightly. Nevertheless, at 49 percent (-5), a good half of those surveyed still think it is the right thing to do despite the fact that it has already been decided to discontinue it, while 47 percent (+4) are against it.

On the other hand, the higher costs are having a clearer impact: the temporarily high fuel prices are leading 63 percent of respondents to change their driving habits. A good third say they do not want to or are unable to change their driving style because, for example, work or public transport connections make this impractical, or their driving behavior has already been optimized.

Majority for speed limit and free public transport

The results of the survey on the introduction of a general speed limit on highways in Germany remained constant compared with the previous year. Here, 63 percent still agree with a general speed limit, while 35 percent reject it. At 135 kilometers per hour, the level of the speed limit perceived as appropriate also remained almost at the previous year's level (+1).

With regard to traffic development in built-up areas, 77 percent generally reject car-free city centers or a blanket speed limit of 30km/h, preferring instead individual solutions depending on local conditions. 79 percent of respondents are in favor of introducing free public transportation. A purchase of the planned 49-Euro-Ticket plans 19 percent of the drivers certainly, 18 percent possibly. One in two potential 49-euro ticket purchasers state that the ticket will probably reduce their own car or motorcycle/scooter use. Car subscriptions are also seen by 31 percent as a possible alternative to purchasing their own car. (aum)

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Photo: Autoren-Union Mobilität/Forsa/Targobank