FACT CHECK: Does This Image Show Germans Abandoning Their Vehicles In Protest Of Fuel Price Increases?

Ryan King | Contributor

An image shared on Facebook allegedly shows cars abandoned by Germans in protest of increased fuel prices.

Verdict: False

The image actually shows a traffic jam in China that took place in 2012.

Fact Check:

In the image, hundreds of cars appear to be caught in gridlock, with some drivers and passengers standing outside their vehicles. The text beneath the picture suggests the incident took place in Germany. (RELATED: Does This Photo Show A Berlin Tractor Rally In Support Of Indian Farmers’ Protests?)

“In Germany, the government has increased fuel price,” the text reads in part. “In just one hour of time people had abandoned their cars on streets and avenues and walked home. Over a million abandoned cars. They had to lower the price.”

The photo can be found on RexFeatures.com, where the description states it actually depicts a September 2012 traffic jam in Shenzhen City, China, during the Mid-Autumn Festival. Shutterstock acquired Rex Features in 2015, according to the website’s “About Us” page.

The Mid-Autumn Festival is a celebration of harvest that involves gathering with family, lighting lanterns and eating mooncakes, according to CNN. An estimated 85 million people traveled on the roads in China for the first day of the holiday week in 2012, the International Business Times reported. Many travelers opted to drive, in part, because the Chinese government temporarily waived tolls for the “golden week” that year, according to The Atlantic.

It is unclear where the inaccurate claim about the photo originated, but it has circulated online for years, with one iteration dating back to 2017. Other fact-checkers such as Reuters, USA Today and Snopes have previously debunked it.

While there has, according to Politico, been debate about the issue of fuel taxes among some German politicians recently, Check Your Fact didn’t find any evidence of a mass protest against fuel prices in Germany that involved the abandonment of over a million cars. Such a demonstration would have attracted widespread media coverage.

Ryan King