Commuters happy to pay for sustainable transport

Commuters across Europe have said they would be willing to pay more to use climate friendly modes of transport according to new research.

Energy and transport firm Cummins Inc. surveyed travellers in the UK, Germany and Belgium to assess their views on the move to sustainable transport systems.

The release of the survey was timed to coincide with European Hydrogen Week and revealed that more than half of UK commuters would be willing to travel to work on a train or bus powered by hydrogen to lower their carbon footprint and reduce emissions. Nearly half of commuters in Belgium and Germany expressed the same view. This data was obtained through a survey of 6,000 respondents in Belgium, Germany and the United Kingdom in October 2020.

“It is encouraging to see that citizens and governments across Europe are prioritising the climate and understand that investment in hydrogen technologies is a path to improve the environment and fuel economic recovery from the impact of COVID-19,” said Amy Adams, Vice President of Fuel Cell & Hydrogen Technologies at Cummins. “With both the EU and the UK pledging to be carbon-neutral by 2050, there is, in short, real appetite from policymakers and citizens to make a collective difference. Hydrogen is a key part of Cummins’ portfolio of solutions to help our customers succeed and as a path toward zero emissions.”

The survey found increasingly positive attitudes towards clean technology alternatives for public transport, with approximately 40% of consumers in Belgium, Germany and the UK willing to pay £1 or €1 more for their daily commute in order to lower their carbon footprint.

Forty eight percent of British citizens expressed the view that low-carbon technologies are important for the UK’s economic recovery from COVID-19. In addition, more than 40% of citizens in Belgium and Germany agreed that low-carbon technologies are important for their country’s economic recovery plans.

When asked about buying or renting a car powered by hydrogen, over a quarter of respondents in Belgium and the UK reported concerns with the upfront cost. Less than 20 percent of consumers in Germany, the UK and Belgium were also deterred by the limited amount of hydrogen refuellers available. Furthermore, one in five UK citizens believe that it will take 20-30 years for there to be more cars powered by hydrogen fuel on the road than gas-powered cars, and nearly a quarter believe this will never happen. A third of consumers in Germany and more than a quarter in Belgium agreed.

“Fortunately, European consumers are willing to switch to more sustainable public transport – and this technology is available now,” said the survey. “For example, hydrogen trains are an effective solution for more sustainable rail networks in Europe. With the right commercial technologies in place, consumers can lower their carbon footprints without facing additional costs.”