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Andreas Kluth

To Save Ukraine, Slow Down on the Autobahn

Germany’s cult of speed crashes into the wartime need to conserve.

Slowing it down a bit.

Slowing it down a bit.

Photographer: Tobias Schwarz/AFP via Getty Images

Rather as the US is an outlier among developed countries in equating freedom with gun ownership, Germany is almost unique in defining liberty as the absence of speed limits on the autobahn. That mentality, however, is now slamming into the imperative to save energy, which is in turn part of the West’s common effort to resist the warmongering of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In Europe, only the Isle of Man keeps Germany company in eschewing categorical highway limits. But driving on the curvy roads of a windswept island is hardly the same as surviving in the fast lanes of the world’s most obsessive car culture.