NewsNo speed limit despite energy crisis: newspaper from the...

No speed limit despite energy crisis: newspaper from the USA expresses incomprehension

Created: 09/13/2022, 4:46 p.m

There is still no speed limit in Germany. The New York Times cannot understand why it is still allowed to drive 200 km/h on the “german autobahn”.

Kassel – In Germany, the energy crisis has replaced Corona. At least in the media, dealing with gas and oil exports has come to the fore. The heating in public buildings is turned down, politicians are calling on people to save energy. In the US, meanwhile, one wonders why a much-discussed energy-saving method that could save a lot of oil is not being introduced.

It’s about the speed limit, a general issue in the traffic light coalition. The Greens and the FDP in particular have different opinions on the speed limit. The co-chair of the Greens, Ricarda Lang, called for a temporary speed limit in the spring in order to react quickly to the potential oil shortage. There hasn’t been any significant progress since then. The FDP and in particular Minister of Transport Wissing argued at the time that there were no signs for a general speed limit. In an interview in August, FDP boss Lindner also rejected the speed limit. Germany has “really bigger problems than that,” said the politician in an ARD interview with Tina Hassel.

Kein Tempolimit: Tempo 130 ist in Deutschland nicht der Regelfall. (Archivfoto)
Speed limit: More than 130 on the Autobahn is not the norm in Germany. (Archive photo) © Thomas Frey/dpa

New York Times article: Why is there still no speed limit on German autobahns?

The New York Times wonders about Germany’s position on the speed limit. Although the Federal Republic will take numerous measures to save energy and even “extend the service life of two of the country’s last nuclear reactors”, a general speed limit on the “famous motorways” will not be introduced in the foreseeable future. The Times compares the German debate about the speed limit with the discussion about gun laws, which has become a permanent topic in the USA.

The speed limit makes a major contribution to this, as it could “save fuel and reduce carbon dioxide emissions,” writes the leading American medium. The Federal Environment Agency also sees the savings potential: with a high speed limit of 100 kilometers per hour on motorways and 80 kilometers per hour on country roads, 2.1 billion liters of fossil fuel would be saved.

Another side effect: a speed limit would be good for the environment. As the Federal Environment Agency writes on its website, a speed limit is a “short-term, cost-effective and effective contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions”. And the population is also not averse to a speed limit: According to a survey by the opinion research institute YouGov, 57 percent of those questioned are in favor of a speed limit of 130 kilometers per hour, while 33 percent spoke out against it.

Discussion about speed limit: Tensions in the governing coalition?

The dispute between the Greens and the FDP, in which the SPD, according to the New York Times article, is only playing the role of mediator, has been put on hold for the time being, as the article also states. A “non-aggression pact” is being held on the issue, as the newspaper quotes political scientist Professor Wolfgang Schröder.

Nevertheless: From the point of view of the USA, the topic “speed limit” leads to “tensions” in the traffic lights “in view of the worsening energy crisis”. However, the New York Times considers it unlikely that the coalition will break up. Instead, the Greens, with their good poll numbers – in contrast to the FDP – have realistic chances of ending up in government again in the next legislative period. Then the experts consulted by the New York Times suspect that the environmental party will address the issue again. Possibly without the FDP in government. (pron)

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