Irish people have the second highest level of car dependency among EU citizens

The Irish have the second highest level of car dependency among EU citizens, according to the results of a new EU-wide survey.

A study carried out on behalf of the European Commission found that 76% of Irish people use a car as their main mode of transport on a typical day, an increase of 8 percentage points since a similar poll was carried out in 2019.

Only Cypriots (85%) had a higher level of car dependence in the EU where the average proportion of people who drive cars daily was only 47%.

The survey showed that Ireland was one of five EU member states where levels of car dependency have increased over the past three years.

It also found that 46% of Irish respondents said the availability of public transport in their own area was poor, while 35% criticized the affordability of public transport services.

The Eurobarometer poll, which surveyed almost 26,400 adults in the 27 EU member states over the summer, including more than 1,000 in Ireland, was designed to assess the attitudes and expectations of citizens of the about the green transition and the impact of the fight against climate change on their lives. .

The EU has defined a strategy – the European Green Deal – which aims to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050.

Under new legislation that came into force last year, EU member states have set themselves binding targets to cut their greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% below baseline levels. 1990 by 2030.

The survey showed that the Irish are less afraid of climate change than most other Europeans, but they are more afraid of the current cost of their energy bills.

The results highlighted how 54% of Irish people polled admitted climate change was something they were afraid of – the 5th lowest rate among the 27 EU member states where the average was 70% – while 8 out of 10 Irish people felt they could personally do more to combat the currency climate.

Only one in five believe that Ireland does not need to act on climate change if other countries do not act either.

Amid rising energy costs, less than half of all Irish (49%) expressed confidence that sustainable energy, products and services will be affordable for all by 2050 , while 51% said their own home needed an energy upgrade.

It also revealed that 98% of Irish respondents said the level of energy prices in Ireland was a serious problem – the 3rd highest rate in the EU.

According to the poll, 70% of Irish people said the current cost of their home energy needs was a very serious problem compared to the European average of 44%.

Similar figures have been reported for Irish consumer attitudes to current transport fuel prices.

However, more than two-thirds (68 per cent) said they were confident they could personally use less energy than their current levels – also the 3rd highest rate in the EU where the average figure was 53 percent.

On an optimistic note, 50% of Irish expressed confidence that their compatriots would control their energy use to limit climate change – the 2nd highest level in the EU where the average was 37%.

However, nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of Irish respondents said they would not be willing to pay higher energy charges to accelerate the green transition.

Meanwhile, 39% said they had taken steps in the past five years to make their home more energy efficient, although 51% admitted that their home’s energy efficiency could be improved.

Only 10% said they had used public funds in the past five years to make their home more energy efficient.

Less than half of Irish people also believe that the Irish government and local authorities as well as private companies are doing enough to ensure a fair green transition.

Almost two-thirds of Irish people said they believed climate change policies would create more new jobs than they would take away.

The European Commission said the new geopolitical situation resulting from the war in Ukraine, combined with high energy prices and the rising cost of living, had reinforced the importance of a rapid green transition.

“Our policies must ensure that no one and no place is left behind and that the benefits and costs of this transformation are shared equitably in society,” he added.

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