It is being reported that officials in Bremen Germany are imposing a speed limit of 120km/h on the Autobahn in the area. The change is part of an environmental initiative, with the hope being that slowing cars down will reduce fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions. While the change will will almost certainly accomplish that to some degree by eliminating a seven mile stretch of highway in the area that had previously been free of limits, the real effect is likely to be minimal. The other thirty miles of the Autobahn in the area already had speed limits as do in many areas throughout the country. Although the Autobahn system has a reputation as a haven for fast driving, the reality is that large portions of roadway around cities and towns have had limits for decades and in otherwise unlimited areas, the majority of drivers stick to speeds of 70-80 mph or less anyway. Increasing congestion makes it difficult to just put the pedal down and fuel prices of $9/U.S. gallon and above make it financially irresponsible to drive so fast. This change is likely more symbolic than practical and just codifies what was already occurring for most drivers anyway.
[Sources: Automotive News - sub. req'd, BusinessWeek]

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