While most of our readers would likely be opposed to putting an end to the unrestricted autobahn, the majority of actual German citizens don't seem to agree. According to an Emnid institute poll highlighted by Reuters, 52 percent of Germans surveyed said they'd be in favor of a 75 to 87-mile-per-hour speed autobahn speed limit. Meanwhile, 46 percent were against such regulations.
Last week, a government committee proposal suggested the country impose an 80-mph speed limit on all sections of the famous unrestricted highway network in hopes of curbing emissions and complying with the Paris Climate Agreement. And while the public seems to narrowly approve, among those opposed to such a change is Transport Minister and Bavarian conservative Andreas Scheuer.
"The principle of freedom has proven itself," Scheuer told German tabloid Bild am Sonntag. "Whoever wants to drive 120 can drive 120, and those who want to go faster can do that too. Why this constant micromanagement?"
Scheuer went on to point out that Germany's highways are the safest in the world, 30 percent of its highways are already speed-limited, and that expanding that to 100 percent of the 'bahn would only cut country-wide emissions by 0.5 percent. Scheuer reportedly will meet with the committee that proposed the idea for further discussion with an eye on making concrete plans by late March.
"The goal is to think about the work they're doing and to generate results, instead of revisiting old, rejected and unrealistic demands like speed limits," Scheuer said.
Germany is facing significant pressure to cut emissions and would be on the hook for hefty EU fines if targets aren't met. We're not sure if taking away the country's land-speed liberties (and a significant automotive tourist attraction) is worth the admittedly marginal environmental gains, but the majority of the German people appear to think otherwise.