Germany’s largest motoring club calls on drivers to ditch their cars

Germany's biggest motoring association, the ADAC, has urged drivers to leave their car at home more often to help the country cut down its dependence on Russian energy.

A cyclist in Berlin.
A cyclist in Berlin. The ADAC wants drivers to cycle or walk more often to save on energy. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Jörg Carstensen

As Russian President Vladimir Putin continues his war on neighbouring Ukraine, more people in Germany are speaking out about how to cut down on energy.

And even the motorist lobby is calling for people to give up their cars – or at least do what they can to save fuel.

“Every litre of fuel saved can help to reduce dependence on oil imports and therefore indirectly influence the further development of the war,” ADAC President Christian Reinicke told the newspapers in the Funke media group.

“For many short distances, driving a car makes no sense. For other distances, you can also use public transport,” Reinicke said.

He advised an economical driving style. “I myself also try to drive about 20 percent slower. If all 21.2 million members of the ADAC did that, it would already be a huge savings effect,” he said.

He urged people to leave their car at home more often. 

It’s possible to go “to the bakery by bicycle instead of by SUV”, he said.

According to a survey commissioned by the ADAC, almost one in two drivers is currently prepared to forego individual journeys by car in order to save energy. Meanwhile, 60 percent have succeeded in saving energy by driving more economically.

To encourage ADAC members to save fuel, the association is launching a campaign on Wednesday. The aim is to inform motorists about potential savings and alternatives to their own vehicles.

In an open letter that the ADAC planned to send to its members on Wednesday, Reinicke and ADAC traffic president Gerhard Hillebrand called for people to walk and cycle more often. 

The ADAC’s plea will likely be welcomed by the German government, which has been trying to ensure Germany is no longer dependent on Russia for oil and gas since the war on Ukraine began in February. 

READ ALSO: Pressure grows on Germany to introduce tougher speed limits

Climate and Economy Minister Robert Habeck, of the Greens, said on Tuesday he believes Germany can achieve independence from oil supplies from Russia “within days”.

Russia’s share of oil imports has already been reduced from 35 percent to about 12 percent, Habeck said after a meeting with his Polish counterpart Anna Moskwa in Warsaw. Most supply contracts have already been converted, he added.

When it comes to reliance on Russian gas “we are working flat out to overcome the high level of dependence that Germany had here, and which was a mistake,” said Habeck.

He said the share of gas imports from Russia has been reduced from 55 per cent to around 40 per cent. In order to overcome this he said, “LNG terminals are now being built at record speed”.

LNG or liquified natural gas terminals would allow Germany to diversify its suppliers of gas, potentially increasing direct supplies from the United States, Qatar or Canada.

READ ALSO: Germany to build LNG terminal to reduce Russian gas reliance

Member comments

  1. Its too bad we couldn’t rely more on DB, in the Frankfurt area you are lucky if the trains run on time 20% of the time, and often delays of 30 minutes or more are normal. How does one commute with that kind of service

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Should tenants in Germany be shielded from energy price hikes?

Gas prices have more than tripled in the past year, prompting tenants' rights advocates to call for more social support and a cap on energy costs.

Should tenants in Germany be shielded from energy price hikes?

The German’s Tenants’ Association is calling on the government to put together a new energy relief package to help renters deal with spiralling energy costs.

Gas has become an increasing scarce resource in Germany, with the Economics Ministry raising the alert level recently after Russia docked supplies by 60 percent.

The continued supply issues have caused prices to skyrocket. According to the German import prices published on Thursday, natural gas was three times as expensive in May 2022 as it was in May a year ago.

In light of the exploding prices, the German Tenants’ Association is putting the government under pressure to offer greater relief for renters.


Proposals on the table include a moratorium on terminating tenancy agreements and a permanent heating cost subsidy for all low-income households.

The Tenants’ Association has argued that nobody should face eviction for being unable to cope with soaring bills and is urging the government to adjust housing benefits in line with the higher prices. 

Gas price cap

Renters’ advocates have also joined a chorus of people advocating for a cap on consumer gas prices to prevent costs from rising indefinitely.

Recently, Frank Bsirske, a member of the parliamentary Green Party and former head of the trade union Verdi, spoke out in favour of capping prices. Bavaria’s economics minister and Lower Saxony’s energy minister have also advocated for a gas price cap in the past. 

According to the tenants’ association, the vast majority of tenants use gas for heating and are directly affected by recent price increases.

At the G7 summit in Bavaria this week, leaders of the developed nations discussed plans for a coordinated cut in oil prices to prevent Russia from reaping the rewards of the energy crisis. 

In an initiative spearheaded by the US, the group of rich nations agreed to task ministers will developing a proposal that would see consumer countries refusing to pay more than a set price for oil imports from Russia.

READ ALSO: Germany and G7 to ‘develop a price cap’ on Russian oil

A gas price cap would likely be carried out on a more national level, with the government regulating how much of their costs energy companies can pass onto consumers. 

Strict contract laws preventing sudden price hikes mean that tenants in Germany are unlikely to feel the full force of the rising gas prices this year

However, the Tenant’s Association pointed out that, if there is a significant reduction in gas imports, the Federal Network Agency could activate an emergency clause known as the price adjustment clause.

This would allow gas suppliers to pass on higher prices to their customers at short notice. 

The Tenants’ Association has warned that the consequences of an immediate market price adjustment, if it happens, should be legally regulated and socially cushioned.

In the case of the price adjustment clause being activated, the government would have to regulate the costs that companies were allowed to pass onto consumers to prevent social upheaval.