The winds of the past are returning in the form of slowdowns to circulate along the highway. The measure, which already had its significance in 2011 under the ministry of Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba and the presidency of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, is coming back stronger and more restrictive than in its first version. If 10 years ago it was forced to reduce it to 110 km/h, then the current proposal is to reduce the maximum speed on motorways to 100 km/h.

According to preliminary data, the first signs of a measure that could be approved in the coming days in the Council of Ministers economist, is part of a package of solutions to mitigate the Russian oil and gas crisis. Between incentives for public transport – under the RepowerEU program – or more efficient management of air conditioners and boilers, lowering the maximum speed has also been discussed.

This measure is one of the consequences of the EU decision last week, in which it vetoed the entry into the Community zone of oil and gas of Russian origin. Another point to impose sanctions on the country for the war in Ukraine. And a decision that already pointed to clear consequences in several European countries that are heavily dependent on the country’s raw materials.

International crises, after speed control on the track

The first consequence of any international crisis in oil-exporting countries is, of course, an increase in the price of a liter of gasoline or diesel fuel. Already in 2011, when it was decided to reduce the speed of traffic on the roads, the price of a barrel of Brent reached $115. The crisis with the Arab countries forced Spain to decide to reduce the national consumption of gasoline. Now that the crisis in Russia has affected the entire continent, a barrel is close to $112.11.

And the fact is that in 2011 Spain was one of the most affected by the crisis. While the rest of the participating countries increased the average speed of traffic – there was a lot of Russian fuel in circulation – Spain depended on North Africa. Poland rose from 130 to 140 km/h. Germany, for its part, has retained its high-speed lines. Great Britain and during the same Arab crisis decided to go the opposite way to Spain: it went from 112 km/h to 128 km/h. His motivation? If people spend less time on the roads, economic activity improves. A point that the Netherlands copied shortly after.

Does lowering the maximum circulation rate work?

The 2011 measure was announced in March of that year as a temporary measure. On June 24 of the same year, the Zapatero government decided not to extend the measure. On July 1 of the same year, the maximum speed in Spain rose again to 120 km/h. Did the controversial measure work? At that time, 450 million euros were planned – with costs ranging from 100,000 to 600,000 euros to change traffic lights – total savings resulting from reduced traffic speeds.

According to the head of the Ministry of Finance and Ecological Transition in 2011, led by Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba, “it was a complete success.” He then announced that they were lifting the measure. However, if it worked so well, why not keep it forever? After all, not only gasoline consumption has decreased, but the number of traffic accidents has also decreased by 15%. In addition, greenhouse gas emissions have been reduced.

“This is a temporary measure,” Rubalcaba explained at the time, “and it contributed to reflection.” The reality is that with a decrease in the maximum circulation rate, also stopped collecting VAT reducing fuel consumption; one of the Spanish Confederation of Service Stations indicated that he was not so accused. They also did not think that this was not the best measure under the circumstances. And this was also a decision not without controversy – both for the opposition and for citizens. There were many voices at the time that the measure was lifted to avoid the anger of the voters of the moment.

Be that as it may, now it again slows down our lives and is under the wing of the European Union. Or at least they check this controversial bet.

Source: Hiper Textual

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