A fuel crisis in Germany is so acute that lawmakers are proposing top speeds on the country’s famous limit-free autobahns to reduce gas guzzling.
Germany’s energy dependence on Russia has been laid bare in the wake of the tough economic response to the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine.
And now, German lawmakers are proposing top speeds on the country’s famous limit-free autobahns to save every litre of fuel possible.
The proposal was made by the co-chair of the Greens, Ricarda Lang, in direct response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
She said in a statement on 2nd April: “We are dependent and therefore massively vulnerable.
“Relying on Russia’s imports of gas, oil and coal for energy policy was a fatal mistake. It’s all the more important that we get out of there as quickly as possible.
“We are all rightly asking ourselves how this can be achieved. It can and must work if we rely on broader energy sources and finally expand renewables.
“The truth is, however, that it will work if we now acutely reduce our energy consumption. Admittedly, that’s easier said than done.
“There is no single measure that can make us independent immediately.
“But knowing that every litre of oil counts and every opportunity to reduce consumption, let’s look at everything that’s on the table.
“And there is: a temporary speed limit on motorways that can provide big savings in the short term.
“Limited to nine months, for example, this could make an important transitional contribution on the way to energy sovereignty and thus to our security.
“This is a suggestion – an idea to act now. It’s probably not the only one and I’m hoping for more.
“We should only be discussing it now without any bans on thinking, because in the end this action today will mean our freedom tomorrow.”
The Umweltbundesamt (German Environment Agency) had previously calculated that if German drivers limited their top speeds on motorways to 100 kph (62 mph) and to 80 kph (50 mph) on out-of-town roads, it would save around 2.1 billion litres (462 million imperial gallons) of fossil fuels and thus around 3.8 per cent of fuel consumed in the transport sector.
However, speed-limit-free motorways are such a mainstay in Germany that there is inevitably resistance to the proposal.
The Free Democratic Party, which holds 92 of the Bundestag’s 736 seats and is in the governing coalition with the Greens and the Social Democratic Party of Germany, has already rejected the idea.
But this has not deterred Lang, who told the RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland (Editor Network Germany): “We no longer want to stabilise the Putin system. Every drop of oil saved makes us less dependent on a war criminal.
“This independence is our common interest in the coalition.”