Most Germans think that having speed limits on the Autobahn is a good idea, according to a recent poll.
Germany’s Autobahn is famously both the fastest highway in the world thanks to its lack of speed limits as well as the safest due to some incredible engineering and design.
However, there is a bit of a problem with the Autobahn’s extreme speed: it pollutes. Cars traveling at their fastest tend to use more gas and emit more CO2 than a car being driven at cruising speed (at least, for gasoline and diesel engines). And Germany is very concerned with this carbon footprint these days after a string of emissions scandals.
According to Reuters, a poll was conducted by the Emnid Institute and published by the Bild am Sonntag newspaper. It asked if residents were in favor of or opposed to a speed limit on the Autobahn of between 120 kph and 140 kph (75 mph and 87 mph).
Surprisingly, over half of respondents (52%) said they’d be in favor of speed limits, while 46% said they were opposed. We’re not sure what the remaining 2% thought, but it was probably a violent opposition to suppressing their need for speed.
Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer, a Bavarian native, argued that the Autobahn should remain unlimited as it is the safest highway system in the world. "The principle of freedom has proven itself,” he told the newspaper. “Whoever wants to drive 120 can drive 120, and those who want to go faster can do that too. Why this constant micromanagement?"
Scheuer noted that 30% of the Autobahn already has speed limits, and enacting those limits over the whole highway system would only cut emissions by less than half a percent.
Germany has to do something to cut its emissions or else face steep fines from the European Union. The automotive industry is rightly very nervous to see what the government will do, either by enacting speed limits, hiking fuel taxes, instituting quotas on electric or hybrid cars, or ending tax breaks on diesel-powered vehicles.
The government is currently studying the problem and will make its final proposals by March.