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Chris Bryant

Speed Limit on the Autobahn? It’d Be Great for the Planet

Slowing down can help reduce transport pollution. Electrification will help us speed up again.

Sorry speed freaks.

Sorry speed freaks.

Photographer: Johannes Simon/Getty Images Europe

Could Germans’ cherished right to drive as fast as they like on the Autobahn soon be outlawed? With the country’s center-left Social Democrats now leading the polls ahead of this month’s federal election, we shouldn’t rule it out: If voted in, they promise to limit motorway speeds to a maximum of 130 km per hour (81 miles per hour). Possible coalition partners, the Greens and Left party, also want a highway speed cap.

For libertarians and petrol-heads, not to mention the German engineers who spent decades building ever more powerful combustion engines, this would be hugely disappointing