CDU-Chef Friedrich Merz und seine Frau Charlotte sind mit ihrem Privatflieger zur Hochzeit von Bundesfinanzminister Christian Lindner (FDP) nach Sylt gekommen. Seine Frau und er stehen auf der Gästeliste für die Hochzeitsfeier von Lindner und der Journalistin Franca Lehfeldt. +++ dpa-Bildfunk +++

At the beginning of July, CDU leader Friedrich Merz and his wife Charlotte traveled to Sylt in a private plane, where FDP leader Christian Lindner married the political journalist Franca Lehfeldt. The pictures of Friedrich Merz, who himself was behind the controls of a twin-engine light aircraft, caused a stir in the media and social networks.

Merz has now defended his arrival by private plane. As the politician made clear on Sunday in the big ZDF “summer interview”, he does not regret having traveled by plane.

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“To put it in a nutshell: I use less fuel with this small plane than any member of the federal government’s company car. And that’s why I fly,” says Merz. The 66-year-old uses his plane primarily for professional purposes, as he revealed in an interview. “I stand by it and it’s an old dream of mine, if you will. Always has been.”

Federal Minister of Agriculture Cem Özdemir took the statements made by Merz as an opportunity to subject them to a “quick fact check” as a member of the federal government, as he writes on Twitter. “My company car is an electric car and therefore does not consume any fuel at all. Neither does my bike,” said the Green politician.

In December 2021, Cem Özdemir rode his bike to Bellevue Palace to pick up his certificate of appointment from the Federal President. Various videos could be seen on social networks of how the newly appointed Federal Minister of Agriculture overtook several of his colleagues’ limousines on his bicycle.

The Green politician is considered a passionate cyclist and sometimes tweets about his experiences on the road or the theft of his e-bike.

As the “Welt” reports, Friedrich Merz’s aircraft is said to be a twin-engine light aircraft of the type “Diamond DA62”, which, according to the manufacturer, should consume 44.7 liters of kerosene per flight hour. However, the consumption depends heavily on the flight altitude and the cruising speed. The load and the number of starts also affect consumption. According to calculations by the Springer newspaper, the consumption of this machine should be “at best at least 13.7 liters per 100 kilometers”.

In a direct comparison, Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s company car should consume a total of 19.5 liters per 100 kilometers according to the standards of the WLTP test procedure. The Chancellor’s car is the armored Mercedes S-Class sedan “S 680 Guard”, which according to the specialist magazine “Auto Motor Sport” could withstand around 12.5 kilograms of explosives and 300 bullets. No information is available on the type of explosives and bullets.

Due to the various special equipment that a chancellor’s car has with such high safety standards, Olaf Scholz’s official limousine should weigh a total of 4.2 tons according to the magazine and thus weigh “almost twice as much as its civilian brother”. The high weight has a negative effect on fuel consumption.

As early as May 2022, the “Deutsche Umwelthilfe” (DUH) examined the fuel consumption and, above all, the CO2 emissions of the company cars of top German politicians in their annual “company car check”. In the large climate check, the values ​​of a total of 244 politicians’ vehicles were compared – depending on the result, the vehicles were ultimately awarded a red, yellow or green card.

The result: more than 80 percent of the company cars examined exceed the EU CO2 limit by at least 20 percent. The European limit is currently 95 grams of CO2 emissions per kilometer driven.

Among the federal ministers, only two politicians’ company cars could be awarded a green card. With 83 grams of CO2 emissions, Cem Özdemir’s electric car “e-tron Sportback 55” from Audi is well below the European limit. The Mercedes-Benz “EQC 400” (also an electric car) owned by Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lemke (Greens) is in second place with 84 grams.

In the last three places are the company cars of Federal Justice Minister Marco Buschmann (FDP) with 283 grams of CO2 emissions, Federal Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) with 283 grams and finally the BMW “750Li xDrive” of Federal Building Minister Klara Geywitz (SPD) with 330 grams CO2 emissions per kilometer.

There is also a positive trend to report from a climate-friendly perspective: As can be seen from the large “company car check”, the proportion of electric cars in use has doubled compared to the previous year’s report. While around 7 percent of all politicians used an electric vehicle before, by 2022 it will already be 14 percent.