Spanish motorway speed limits cut fuel use

A cut in motorway speed limits introduced by Spain appears to have reduced seasonally-adjusted fuel consumption by 8.4 per cent in its first month in operation, Spain's industry ministry claimed last week. "The (10 km/hr) cut in speed limits to 110 km/hr is behind this reduction," the ministry stated. Monthly road fuel consumption in March was the lowest recorded since December 2002.

The statistics provide impressive evidence of the potential of lower speed limits to conserve road fuels and cut carbon dioxide emissions. A European Environment Agency simulation concluded that a reduction in motorway speed limits identical to the Spanish case would most likely achieve savings of 2–3 per cent, though with a theoretical potential of 12–18 per cent.

Source: ENDS Europe Daily, 2 May 2011 and European Environment Agency

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