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Amid the discussion of climate change and rising oil prices caused by the Middle East revolts, Spain has decided to reduce the national speed limits on the express ways and the divided highways from the current 120 to 110 km/h (70 to 80 mph). It is meant to be an environmentally friendly solution to save energy and reduce pollution on the roads. However, the Spanish move is proving somewhat of a controversy in Spain as other countries such as the Netherlands, England and the US are simultaneously increasing their speed limits; the Netherlands are considering up to 130 km/h while England would like to drive 128 km/h on some roads. Their belief is that the new speed limits would ease up traffic jams and as a consequence reduce pollution.
Many local Spanish people do not support their government’s new plan – they feel the move goes against the logic of other European countries. They are also unconvinced that any major results would come from simply reducing the limits with 10 km/h. Ultimately, the feeling among the people of Spain is that the plan is a waste of time and will only benefit the state – the lower speed limits would accumulate new revenue from speeding tickets.
So far, the reduction will only be temporary in an attempt to monitor the effects. If the plan proves ineffective, the trial ends on June 30 if the Spanish government chooses not to make it into law.
Under the banner “Responsibility and Coherence”, the Spanish Council of Ministers has recently applied different measures to reduce the energy consumption in the country. The plan is expected to cost around 1.6 million Euros and will, according to the plan, reduce the annual oil import with 5%. If successful, the Spanish government expects to save around 2.300 million Euros (3.192 million dollars) on energy.
The government of Spain is aiming for a yearly reduction of national oil expenses of 28,6 million Euros (40 million dollars). At the same time, the state is hoping to reduce the national CO2 outlet to 12,5 million tons.
While the timeframe for these goals are unclear, the first steps towards it has already been started on the Spanish roads. The Spanish traffic coordination system recently updated their radars to the new speed limits. Drivers in Spain who speed between 111 and 140 km/h (between 62-90 mph) will receive a fine for 100 Euros ($139), for speeding between 141-160 km/h (90-100 mph) the fine amounts to 300 Euros ($416) and anything over that will cost the driver point off their license – if not the right to drive.