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Spain lowers speed limit to cut fuel bill

slow down sign

More than 6000 freeway speed signs in Spain have just been changed from 120km/h to 110km/h (68mph), to help save €2.3bn a year in national oil costs. The controversial move is part of a series of measures being put in place to attempt to cut Spain’s energy consumption by 5% or more.

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Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Spain lowers speed limit to cut fuel bill” was written by Giles Tremlett in Madrid, for The Guardian on Monday 7th March 2011 17.15 UTC

Spanish drivers have begun keeping their speed to below 110 km per hour (68mph) on motorways after the government made a cut in the speed limit a key measure in moves to lower Spain’s energy bill.

The controversial 10 km/hr change to the speed limit will remain in place at least until the end of June as part of a series of measures designed to cut consumption by more than 5%.

Other measures included schemes for replacing old tyres, switching public lighting to low energy bulbs and helping town halls hire consultants to reduce their electricity consumption.

Spain’s socialist government aims to save the country from importing 28.6m barrels of oil a year – a potential saving of €2.3bn (£2bn). The government said it also hoped to reduce annual CO2 emissions by 12.5m tonnes.

More than 6,000 motorway speed limit signs had to be changed overnight, with an army of workers sticking the new speed limit over the old one.

Opposition parties said the reduced speed limit would make little impact on Spain’s overall oil bill. Right-wing commentators claimed the change was mainly aimed at increasing income from speeding fines.

The government is also reducing the price of commuter train tickets in order to persuade more Spaniards to leave their cars at home and use public transport. Increased oil prices and a rise in eurozone interest rates could further slow Spain’s return to growth, analysts warn.

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